Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Jallikattu and Tamil Culture - Revolution or Hypocritism?

A big Social Agitation is now happening in Chennai. 1000s of youngsters are in road asking to repel the ban on Jallikattu (Eruthazhuvuthal).

Since I am into little bit of Social works, people call, msg, ask me where I am joining for the protest, what time and all

Sorry for Disappointment. But I am staying away from all this.

Had some good discussions with good friends on my view and why I stay away. Penning them down here, so as to even avoid this kind of discussions in future and to focus on my priorities!\

Reality, how I see it

My limited view in my very limited knowledge. Open to genuine discussion and inputs, based on my available time. Warning: Contains serious bashing and shameless (but useful) self promotion and self advertisement!

I am basically a multi passionate person. I love Tamil for it's beautiful literature and past glorious history, just as I love Japanese culture for their Anime, High disciplines, Lifestyle,. Among 99% Tanglish speakers in Chennai, there are few gems who speak purely in Tamil and love listening to their talks.

But what I see is, Tamil Language and Tamil Culture is being lost/destroyed in this modern Corporate era. Just like any other culture, Tamil had many unique things. Let's look at each of above points in brief.
  1. Ego
    1. Many famous Tamil personalities from Bharathiyar, Periyar to our ex-CM Jayalalitha are super confident egoistic creatures, which super served the route they took and also inspire others.
    2. But in current generation, no individual (speaking of majority) is proud and confident on their language. You can see that in day to day life everywhere. People take pride in speaking English. Those who can't speak in English are looked down. What we are seeing now in Jallikattu protest is just a Mob mentality. When they are back to their daily life, they will be back to pavilion. Tamil Ego destroyed by same individuals, who are out there protesting now.
  2. Family structure
    1. Had big family structures, where even in among Chettinadu community even 50-100 people lived together.
    2. But in current generation, we lost the big family structure. But I call this as, we evolved for good.
  3. Food
    1. We had a super good, healthy foods from Kezhvaragu, Thinai, Kudhirai Vali, Kambu, among 100s of other Siru Thaniyam (Millets). Myself and Mom are experimenting with Millets for past 1 year and so far, so good.
    2. But the current generation Tamil youths look high on KFC, McDonalds, Subway for their food and suffer all sorts of health problems. We lost our healthy foods and we are the only reason for it.
  4. History
    Kamarajar App. Released last week.
    1. Tamils had a glorious past at various times from Valluvar, Avvaiyar, Chera, Chola Pandiyas
    2. but a mundane present (for reasons listed here and hopeless future (written below).
    3. Note: We are working on digitizing our National leaders by making a mobile app for them in Tamil/English. Recently released an app for Kamarajar @ Looking for sponsors to do apps for more leaders. Those interested, please contact me.
  5. Language
    1. I dont know any other languages other than Tamil and English, but I am in absolute love for it's very beauty, when people speak it. I used to hear Tamil speeches in Youtube, Leone, Salaman Pappaya and many others.
    2. But people in cities lost the language decades back. No current generation youth can speak in pure Tamil words for more than 2 minutes. Now we are spoiling towns and villages as well. In the protests happening now, when I hear slogans `We want Jallikattu. We want Jallikattu` and in front of media, they speak in Tanglish of their Tamil pride, I can't help it but 2 words comes in my mind "Hypocritic bastards". We lost the language itself and are we not even aware of it.
  6. Literature
    Silapathikaram. Draft design.
    1. We have best of the best collection of Literature from Tirukkural, Athichudi, Silapathikaram, Manimekalai, Seevaka Sinthamani, Valayapathi, Kundalakesi, Purananooru and 100s of others.
    2. But no one reads it. We read Paulo coelho! We ignored Valluvar's `Kamathu Paal` and spend our nights with Any better suggestions are welcome :-P
    3. Note: We got plans and a perfect Team to convert these Tamil literatures to Digital medium. Looking for sponsorts. Anyone willing to support, can contact me for more info.
  7. Lifestyle
    1. Had known for the lifestyle of Physical fitness, chivalry and Valiancy. Go and learn fucking Veerapandiya Kattabomman. He is an embodiment of almost all points, listed here.
    2. But now, I am in the position of begging all my Chennaities to get rid of sedentary lifestyle, go job, do cycling, workout and keep up their fitness. Not for the culture, but for their own health. We forgot our light clothes and wear Coat, Suit. We became so weak mentally that we are now easily socially conditioned to believe wearing Shoes and Shocks in our Chennai Summer is a comfort.
  8. Rituals
    1. Had 1000s of mindless rituals.
    2. Glad we mostly got rid of it.
  9. Sports
    1. Had Kabadi, Gushti, Malyutham, Gilli,  and 100 others, that the current generation forgot, while they are busy watching (again not playing) Cricket.
    2. You forgot these 100 sports and now hanging behind Jallikattu just to boost ur lost Ego and Identity. Hypocrisy at its peak!
  10. Technology
    1. Thanjavoor temple to Kallanai, we had best of best, ahead of time, start of art technology those times.
    2. But we completely lost this and worst thing is we are not even aware of it. Does any IT guy from the Protesting crowd even aware of Free Software Foundation(FSF) Branch Chennai office?
  11. Work
    1. Had 64 Aaya kalaigal.
    2. This generation should have increased it to 6400, but forgot even that 64.
Having lost everything as listed above, I wonder what people are speaking about in the protests when they shout, `They will save Tamil culture`!
அதான் எல்லா மயிரையும் நாம already மறந்துட்டோமே!

ok. If u think deeply, above all are not just with Tamil, but happening with most Cultures in the world, who dont control the modern power centers of Economy and Technology.

Nations and Cultures which perform well in Economy retain their Language and Culture. Go to China and you will see, how little English had spread there.

Going Forward

What's happening right now in Chennai is a pure emotional, egoistic (and hence blind) protest. You might event win this Jallikattu ritual, for the time being. But what next? What's the vision for Tamil language and Culture for next decade, next 50 years? Any plans to revive the forgotten glory? or to evolve Tamil culture to be the supreme one? No one knows.

For all who think PETA is ur enemy, I pay big salutes to ur sheer lack of Ignorance. It's not PETA, It's the Corporates and the control YOU GAVE TO THEM, that destroyed your culture.

யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்
தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர்தர வாரா

மறுக்க படி...
தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர்தர வாரா

திரும்ப படி...
தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர்தர வாரா

திரும்ப படிடா கொய்யா...
தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர்தர வாரா

Looking back at how much the Tamil culture is lost and forgotten (by its own people) in last 50 years, it's inevitable that in next 50 years, it's totally forgotten.

That's myself and my team are trying to digitize and preserve atleast the literature, before its completely lost. Any support here will be highly appreciated :-)

Wow. Dear Reader. U read this far. Congratz. U r a true stubborn rebel, reading through enemy lines this far. Now spend 2 mins looking this Brilliant portraits of Cultures, which are destroyed because of Modern world.

But I am happy

Being a Rebel by DNA, I am very very very happy to see People protesting, coming out of their comfort zone. I want this to happen against Status Quo, but right now it's happening for Status Quo.

I hope, this momentum is also turned to do something for the farmers, who are dying out there!

But this is fine, as long as people willing to come to streets for something, it is super good. People are emotionally moved and doing all this now, with ignorance and for false identity. But I am hopeful that people will come to streets tomorrow for real issues, which are about to hit us badly.

Climate Change

After all, our own Independence Struggle, an epic, ever inspiring battle of Intellectuals started out and happened for atleast 30-50 years, in these kind of ignorant, emotional and worst losing battles.

த்த்தா..., Nothing beats saying this from the bottom of ur heart in the evergreen, Tamil!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Inconvenient Truth - Welcome to Anthropocene Era

2016 A been a big revelation for me in many fronts, from my understanding of social structures, social change process to personal life and more importantly, on Climate Change and where we are.

I am not very good at storytelling, but still my attempt.

My first Fiction story


There is a happy family. Mom, Dad and 2 kids, a boy and a girl.
Mom is homekeeper.
Dad is a businessman. Power center of the house.
Daughter just started working and the boy is studying college.
There was a wonderful family Friend, who is a doctor.

First signs of Abnormality

Life was all going good. One day, the doctor visits the family and sense something wrong with the Mom. He asks her if her health is good and she says everything is fine. But he do some tests, finds some abnormality, which is never seen before. He communicates the same to the Dad and suggest some minimal change in lifestyle, to thwart and reverse the abnormality.

Business as usual and Cancer

But the Dad took the word of the Doctor seriously and the kids didn't know. They carry on with their usual day to day activities.
On other side, the Doctor starts studying more on this, get other experts involved and find this to be a new type of Cancer, already at 2nd stage.

For those who dont know, sharing my layman understanding of Cancer. It has 4 stages. First 2 are early and are mostly reversible and curable. 3rd is critical stage and nothing much could be done, apart from Miracle. 4th stage is counting the days towards the inevitable.

After this finding, the Doc visits the family again, tells the Dad about new type of Cancer and prescribes various measures to reverse the disease. The kids are still not informed. The Dad want to implement the prescription, change in life style, but he is so caught up with his job, `so called` commitments and responsibilities and didn't do anything about the cancer.

Advanced to 3rd Stage :-(

As no action has been taken, the cancer developed to critical stage. HOPELESS. The doctors brings in other experts to meet Dad and they scream at dad for letting this happen and insist him to take IMMEDIATE ACTION and pray to god. They also tells that mom got not much time but only 3 months. The dad feels very sorry, initiates discussion with his relatives and neighbours to help him take care of Mom. They all make plan to implement the treatments prescribed by Doctor.

But you know what? The Dad still couldn't break his day to day affairs, the lock of employment, which feeds the family and didn't do much about it.

Meanwhile, the Mom suffers and starts showing symptoms. The kids could now recognize something wrong but dont know exactly what. They could see the suffering and but dont know what to do.

Advanced to 4th Stage!

Yes. The dad let this happen, as he was still caught up with hectic jobs. Docs say the mom got only 1 month from now. The Daughter, a little brainy, started researching on her own and found the reality. She was totally shocked and hates her Dad for letting this happen to her mom. The college boy still didn't understand anything. He could see the suffering of his mom, but still not aware of actual reality. He care less to put time in understanding the problems of his mom and enjoys his college life.

Current Stage

  1. The Doctor is now counting the days of the mom (30 days), still trying to persuade Dad to implement necessary changes and hoping for some Miracle to happen.
  2. Dad is still occupied with his work, which feeds the whole family and keep everything going.
  3. The daughter is depressed, powerless to do anything about it. Lost in her own life. Still learning more about the problem, connecting with experts to find SOME solution.
  4. The Son still didn't get any clue on what's really happening.  Occupied with his college life.

A seriously messed up family!

Back to reality from the Fiction

The above is the state of our current world. Let me replace the fictitious roles with real facts.


  1. Mom -> Mother Earth
  2. Dad -> Politicians, Bureaucrats and Businessman
  3. Daughter -> Environmental activists
  4. Son -> General Public
  5. Doctor -> Scientific Community

First signs of Abnormality

Scientists declared post Industrial human activities is causing huge CO2 emissions, which will lead to
  1. Ocean Acidification
  2. Rise in Global Temperature
  3. Decline of glaciers (melting and running into Oceans)
  4. Mass extinction of species.
Scientific community advices Politicians to take action and switch to clean energy and various precautionary measures.

Unfortunately, the current generation is not even aware that they are sitting in a Time bomb

Business as usual and Cancer

But Politicians around the world never listened to Scientific community and carry on business as usual.

Meanwhile, more studies kept propping from scientists all over the globe, From US, UK, Russia, to Japan and everywhere. Most of the scientific communities agree on Human induced climate change and the Mass extinction phase that is about to follow.

Some facts
  1. Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century.
  2. The acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent.
  3. We already crossed 1 degree above pre industrial levels and the rate is accelerating.
  4. Hell will break lose, if we cross 2 degrees.
  5. At our current rate, we are set to cross 4 degree by 2100!
But the scientists are not heard by those in power (Politicians and Corporates)

Advanced to 3rd Stage :-(

  1. Last 2 decades has seen worst floods and climate events, that we ever seen.
  2. Each year setting record of Hottest temperatures ever, since the measurements started happening in early 1880s.
1995, Berlin, Germany

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)'s first meet (Conference of Parties, COP 1) happened where countries came forward and pledged to take action on Climate Change.

Then every year COP meet happens across different countries, with more and more countries joining in.

1997, Kyoto, Japan
A Landmark agreement was made, which is still in effect. Many developed nations started switching to Green energy and environment friendly practises. But still it's noway near to addressing the actual problem.

To visually see the impact of Climate Change

The cancer of Climate Change keeps accelerating.

Advanced to 4th Stage!

Never seen before Cyclones, Floods are happening across the globe. Scientists have already plotted, which city will submerge when, at

  1. Current rate of 4-5 degree by 2100.
  2. The UN's goal of maintaining @ 2 degree by 2100.
Sea water entering Mumbai in 2034 +/- 5 years, if no immediate action has been taken.
  1. US's NOAA has made a online tool, to interactively see which cities are getting sub merged when.
  2. Coral reefs, which is at the bottom layer of Food Pyramid in marine ecosystem is getting weeded out. Great barrier Reef is severely getting shrinked.
  3. In 2008, the polar bear became the first animal to be added to the Endangered Species Act list of threatened species because of global warming
  4. 2016 - Hottest year of record with 1.2 degrees above pre industrial levels. 2017 is gonna beat it.
  5. At current rate, Sea level could rise as high as 21 feet in next century (That's almost 2 floors of rise of Ocean across the globe)
  6. Tornado clusters, are becoming more common as the warming planet causes shifts in weather patterns across the U.S.  New research showed that the number of tornadoes per outbreak is increasing, and the chance of outbreaks has increased 4-fold.
  7. and much more
Mass Extinction!

2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement and the End of the story

For the first time in History, Presidents and Prime Ministers from 196 countries met in Paris in Dec, 2015 (same time as Chennai floods) and agreed to keep the temperature rise below 2 degrees. But remember the story? The dad always agrees to take action!

Hence the story ends.
  1. The scientific community (Doctor) is screaming out load
  2. Political and Business class (Dad) is busy with their own state of affairs (US Election, Demonetization in India)
  3. The environmental activists (Daughter) are depressed.
  4. The public (College boy) is still unaware.
  5. and The Mom (Mother Earth) is suffering.
I wanted to touch up on many other topics for this 2017 post, especially Action items for my friends and social workers circle, covering following:
  1. Job - Modern form of Slavery
  2. Blind, mindless consumerism and the cure, Minimalism
  3. Social Illusions
  4. Permaculture
But Climate Change took over everything. Guess these topics need to wait for another post!

2017 for me

I read many articles and saw almost all documentaries on Climate Change from `Chasing Ice` to `Before the floods`, featuring Dicarpio, Pope, Obama, Elon, Ban Ki Moon and many other.

But found very little local content (Chennai / India). This year, I will be exploring on local initiatives and connect with local experts and gather local data.

Apart from delivering Social Impacting Software products from my brand new IT Startup, Gethu Games, I will be learning more on what role I could play in Climate Change action. My current dream idea is to make addictive Game, that will also educate player on Climate Change and Individual action. But development of the game need to wait for another year, till we stabilize the awesome product that we started now, Grassroots.

Root Cause

1812: 1 billion
1912: 1.5 billion
2012: 7 billion

Don't u see a problem?

In the words of Smith

Source / Links
Been bookmarking most articles I read about Climate Change @
among with other Environment articles.

Will move Climate Change related links to its own new board @
in upcoming months.


  1. - NASA Site
  2. - US Environmental Protection Agency

Monday, December 5, 2016

Grassroots - Idea to Launch - Part 3 of 4

With the awesome team mentioned in the previous post, I planned to keep myself away from Coding. Being a passionate developer, it was a hard decision to keep my hands away from keyboard!

But rather I planned myself
  1. to focus on pulling in volunteers with Gowtham through College sessions, (this is totally new to us)
  2. get in touch with many NGOs to discuss the idea with and to evolve the idea,
  3. getting into tech works, only if the team faces any hardest challenges,
  4. do R&D and make requirement/specification documentations for further modules after Launch.

Company registration

Then I spoke with Antony from Arappor Iyakkam to an idea
  1. of registering this as a company.
  2. tax and legal procedures and more.
My initial idea was to do legal procedures/registration this after launch, as I have no idea about this. But Antony told it's all very simple procedure and he could help me in registering the company. Wow!
Then we initiated the company registration process. The company shall be named
Gethu Games Pvt Ltd

Games? Gethu? WTH! Yes. That was almost everyone's response, given I was speaking about using technology for Social change. Here is what I have in mind:

Social impacting Game ideas:

Being a game addict (in my college days) and a person with little social consciousness, I can imagine how Games could be really `Game changing` in making people act on social problems. Games are addictive medium which effectively communicate information deep into a person and possibly make them act than any other media be it newspaper, TV, films, etc., More than all, Games are very effective to educate children.

So that's my point. To create games, which provides entertainment, as well as impart deep knowledge on Social problems and possible solutions in kids and make them grow as socially concerned persons, through this addictive medium.

Bragging section:Btw, I already made such a simple game in 3rd year of my college and selected to Semi finals of Microsoft's International student level competition. More @

August 1 - Development starts

We started the development on August 1 with two major unexpected setbacks:
  1. Our technical lead, who is supposed to manage the whole technical works, couldn't join because of some personal issues.
  2. Sames goes with our NGO Panel developer.
I tried searching for another resources to replace these two. Finding resources at junior level is easy, but finding someone of Technical lead level at the bare minimum package I can offer is almost unimaginable.

So to get thinkgs rolling, I got no option than filling the shoes of technical lead, by myself. So I took it up! Except for the NGO Panel all other teams were working great and I kept looking for resources to develop NGO Panel.

From my initial plan for myself,

  1. College sessions - Explained Gowtham the situation, asking him to completely take care of colelge session, putting bulk weight over his head.
  2. Get in touch with many NGOs - skip
  3. R&D and documenting future plan - skip.

Mobile App Dev

With my awesome Interns Thina, Ritesh, Jegadesh and Rohan, we started Mobile dev and it was going good. I was into mobile dev and co-ordinating between every team, reviewing their works, and taking care of non tech works.
I was also doing my part time job that time, which I quit from the month of October.

QA - Haribabu

With Haribabu being the lead of QA, it was going excellent. He was churning out 50-100 test cases / week giving good coverage to all scenarios, along with interns in QA, Ujay and Gayathri.

Server - Arjun

The single man army, Arjun Prasath took complete responsibility of REST API, DB Design, Server management and all server side stuffs. From Day 1 to till today, he is taking complete care of server side, taking big weight from my head.

Arjun and Haribabu both rendered their professional expertise and their awesome skills to Grassroots, without me digging in and doing any sort of micro management. Happy and grateful to have such skillfull, independent resources in team.

We followed Scrum to manage the development process

Nature balances everything


Despite the setbacks, I was overall positive, hopeful, excited, motivated, inspired, (put all remaining positive words here). They say Nature is all about balance. Then how can it let me to be all positive and continue like that. So to balance the equation, it stepped in and hit me, where it really hurts, shattering me into pieces. But it equally balanced in positive way, at a different place, where its due.

Of course, details can't be posted here!


My productivity dropped to 0. It took almost 2 weeks for me to start recovering. Even then, I couldn't give my 100% for long time. It impacted the project most.

But the situation made me realize, how gifted I am. It shown me I am surrounded by all gems and diamonds who care for me so much. They did their best to stitch all my wounds and get me back on track. Thanks you soooo much for all the special care and concern, because of which myself and Grassroots are standing where we are at the moment _/\_

Thanks _/\_

September Month

Arjun and Haribabu were on track, but mobile development took a big hit and NGO Panel was yet to start. But then we got a front end Developer for NGO Panel. Thanks to Arjun :-)

On Campaigning side, Gowtham was visiting many colleges, but struggle to get actual session. Though we had promises from dozen colleges to give us session, no one is giving concrete dates.

Sathish Kumar - Another Super hero entry

Sathish is a new volunteer in Chennai Social Service and he was super active during Vegam and was taking care of all Social media activities. So I appraoched him to get his support in managing Grassroots FB page and online activities. I explained him the concept of Grassroots and loved the concept and promised he will give maximum support and also help in taking Social awareness sessions in colleges along with Gowtham.

After our initial discussion, I told him I will send all details in mail, but missed sending it for a day. Then he sent me this in whatsapp.
September 19, 2016!
It was like hitting a hammer in my head. I realized how my emotional stupidity is affecting the product. I know how demotivating it will be for others in team, when 1 person dont follow up properly. But that day, I realized I was that person who is demotivating everyone in the team!

Decided to stay away from everything and give up on every person, that affects my productivity. It was not easy, but drastic situations call for drastic actions. Hope it will be understood!

More to be continued...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

100 kms Cyclers club!

First Team Cycling

I am pedalling for almost 5 years now and always wanted to form a Cycling gang :-)

In that direction, we initiated our first Night cycling more than a year back. Still have picture perfect memories of our first group ride with Gowtham, Jaffer, Dinesh.
  1. Meeting at Marina at 8PM.
  2. Lack of cycles.
  3. Arun tyre puncture. He deserves it for all atrocities he done that day.
  4. Late dinner after 11 PM near city center.
  5. Very late start.
  6. Full road block near Malar hospital, Adyar. Just escape from Police.
  7. Cycling to Besant Nagar beach.
  8. Creepy 2 kms walk to haunted Broken bridge.
  9. And finally sleep in the open Beach shore. Wow <3
Then we did couple more trips along OMR, ECR, to Marina with changing members. But I am concerned that everyone looks at it only as fun activity and not very serious about it, to take big leaps. Now my concern is broken for good :-)

Near Malar Hospital, Apr, 2015

Exhausted @ Besant Nagar, Apr, 2015

10 Cycle, 10 People on OMR

Last Saturday Nov 26, 2016, 10 of us started from Saidapet towards OMR. Actually 9 of them started and I joined them late at Akkarai beach by 12.30 AM. For the first time, Girls also joined the awesomeness. Charu, Surya Priyadharshini and our Kungfu Panda Deepika :-)

We reached Akkarai beach at 12.30 AM, spent an hour there, speaking with ghosts. Then the girls and Prem from NDRF (National Disaster Relief Force) returned completing their 40 - 50 kms journey.

I myself was tired as I didnt sleep properly for couple of nights. So I thought of returning, assuming everyone else would have been tired by this journey. But that's not the case. All remaining 5 were determined to do Mahabs completing their 100 kms, which motivated me too.

Towards the Glory

Around 2.00 AM, we started pedalling in one of the

  1. most unsafe road in the world (ECR)
  2. at the most unsafe time (Midnight)
  3. in the most unsafe manner (No helmet, No reflecting jackets)
  4. Glad we had our breaks :-P
PS: Guys next time, we should take the OMR Route. Just 5-6 kms extra but very safe for us!

No street light, very little moon light, high beam vehicles driving on opposite, glaring our eyes. We followed some simple rules to keep going, like sticking to white line.

Kovalam Stop

After an hour, we reached Kovalam and Surya dropped out because of his knee pain.
A closed shop with some tables outside to sleep. More than that, he had 2 phones, Jio sim with unlimited Internet, Whatsapp, Facebook. What else he wants!

Then without much break time, the legends started their pedals.
  1. Arun Prasad
  2. Gowtham Shana
  3. Lal Bahadur
  4. Sathish Kumar
  5. and of course, Myself :-)

Crossed half of the well :-)

By around 3.30 AM, we reached Mahabalipuram. HELL YEAH!!!! Around 55 kms!

There was a tea shop, just opened with around 20-30 biscuits. We had our refreshments and went to beach to take rest. But it was too cold and we all started shivering. Returned back in max half an hour. Had another round of Tea in the shop. Did some stretches to relief our body muscles.

Daunting return!

We started our return by 5.30 AM and then only people realized we still got 55 kms to pedal to reach home in one piece. But we are all very much determined to do this.

Since everyone had different works to do and the sun started shining slowly, we parted and everyone returned in their own pace. I started with my Grassroots support calls along the way. Myself and Sathish returned home by 10 AM and all others reached before us.

Able to track the return upto Perungudi till my battery dried up!

Welcome to the 100 kms Club

Here I take honor in welcoming the legends
  1. Arun Prasad
  2. Lal Bahadur
  3. Sathish Kumar
to the `100 Kms cyclers Club` :-) <3

Surya and Gowtham, Keep practising and you will definitely hit it next time.

Sathish, My Nimbus (cycle) and Me!

Appreciate Gowtham for co-ordinating this awesome cycling trip!

My first Mahabs cycling @

More adventures... To be continued!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Grassroots - Idea to Launch - Part 2 of 4

Co-operative social Enterprise

It's May, 2016 end. Now the Blue print of the project is ready and also got a idea on economic model. Now I call myself an `emerging anti-capitalist` after getting a very slight understand of what capitalism is doing to people and environemnt with the `infinite growth policy in a limited planet`. So I definitely dont want to even try for Venture Capitalists or regular investment models.

I started exploring on democraic investment systems. Actually, I dont even know what i was looking for. Then I remembered `Loomio`, a tech startup in New Zealand, born out of `Occupy movement`. I started studying about them and was so excited. They define themselves as `Co-operative social enterprise`. Quoting from their site.
Loomio is a social enterprise collectively owned by the people building it. Unlike a traditional profit­ maximising company, revenue is not an end in itself, but a means towards achieving a core social purpose. A worker-owned cooperative structure is a powerful way to live our values of collaboration and collective ownership.
It was brilliant. Not money centered, but people centered. Wow! I started learning more and more about such business models. Being a simple minded technologist (not an economist), it was hard to understand the concepts.

Then I started worrying how much it is legally possible to implement such crazy ideas in India. Started exploring on such business models in India and couldn't get a single article :-( Hard way forward. Should I even do this?

I have this problem mostly:
My heart gets stuck with something and my mind knows it wont work out. But I can't resolve the conflict myself. So I let external factors manipulate my heart, which are my friends.

So consulted with 2 good friends (Paul and Saravanan). After nearly 4 hours conference call, they clarified me this:
  1. I am going to do business for first time in life. It's going to a big challenging, learning curve.
  2. I have no money in hand, have to fund raise all money.
  3. Challenging technical problem to solve.
  4. What I am doing is a completely new vertical inthe whole world. (Software for Non-profits in India)
  5. Challenge in sales (Billing NGOs, who already struggle to run because of lagging in donations)
  6. After the tech problem of making software is solved, getting it operation / active is a big question mark, which I dont even know how to plan. It's going to be trial and error.
With all above points, the probability of failing, is already to high than a regular IT startup.

Now I  dont even know Loomio kind of business model is possible in India. Any regular lawyers, auditors wont even understand what I am asking for.

Considering all this challenges, I decided not to explore anything on new anti-capilalist economic model at the moment. Thanks Paul and Saravanan for the continuous bashing, to take things into my heart!

SRM Connect

Now I need to form a technical team to execute this. I am sure, I wont have a luxury of hiring only senior developers to execute the project, because of money constraints.

Lucking I had full support of Thina and Think Digital (TD). A team of brilliant students from SRM, with whom I executed many social projects before. So I planned to train them on Ionic to take care of mobile development.

We had a meeting in SRM college with TD Team. Our genius programmer, Ritesh suggested that we do a pilot app, SRM Connect, which will be similar to Volunteer app feature wise. But used to connect people and events happening inside SRM. Once the app is done, we can then reuse the code base for Grassroots with much better Ionic experience.

It will be beneficial for me too, as I can show case a completed app to my potential investors, to gain their confidence. In 1 month time, with just the students coding on it, under my supervision, we completed the app and deployed in Play store @

Investors - A Wow story

I first spoke with some key tech people, whom will be developing on the project. One of them is a IIT graduate, a master mind, excellent programmer who was willing to lead the whole technical process.

I split the investment into 2 phases.

  1. Phase 1 will cover expenses upto Launch, with foundational modules.
  2. Phase 2 will cover expenses 5 months after Launch to develop further modules.

My target was getting a commitment/money for atleast Phase 1, before I could initate the development. For Phase 2, I planned to do a 2nd fund raiser after launch. After launch, with a working product, I thought I could get money a bit easier than having only documents now.

By June end, when SRM Connect is 80% done, I started approaching my friends for Investment. From the first person, Rajesh Kanna to all futher people, they totally loved the idea. Of course, how they can't be. Yes I am bit egoistic about this idea!

June 24. I met Rajesh Kanna in Neelangarai @ CTC's Garbage segregation event. Went half an hour early at 5.30 AM and took this awesome sunrise shot from Neelangarai beach. Best scene. Only like 20% of the actual experience is conveyed through the photo. It was maginificient there. I love beach!

I had 5 key advantages:

  1. A revolutionary Idea.
  2. A working prototype in hand, SRM Connect.
  3. Strong tech team - The IIT brain, Myself (yes, I call myself a good programmer) and TD Team and
  4. My own credibility because of years of Volunteering works.
  5. Further ideas. Revolutionizing game ideas, that will create strong social impact.

With the above 5 strong points, Everyone is willing to invest the maximum amount in their capacity. In just one week, after meeting some 10 people, I got full commitment for Phase 1. Holy cow! Wow.

For June last week and July I planned to do meet loads of people to get investment for Phase 1. But in just 1 week, I got commitment for complete Phase 1. So I continued further and raised funds for whole 10 months, by the end of July. How lucky, How gifted, I am!

Team Formation

Team formation was also happening parallely.
  1. My volunteering Colleague in Chennai Social Service, Haribabu is more than happy to take up QA Lead. He actually didn't want to get paid, as he loved the idea. But I forced a minimum number upon him.
  2. Arjun Prasath - My colleague in my previous company. Excellent server brainy. He assisted me a little in doing `Online RTI Generator` 2 years back. He joined taking complete responsibility of Server, DB, Backend REST service.
  3. Sakthi Vel - Another Chennai Social Service volunteering colleague. A super creative real world cartoon character.
  4. Think Digital team
    1. Thina - The hyperactive programmer.
    2. Ritesh and Rohan - The silent programmers.
    3. Ujay and Jegadesh - Programmers gifted with excellent design skills.
    4. Gayathri - The crypto girl
  5. Gowtham Shana - Another Chennai Social Service volunteering colleague. A personal with a long term, very big social vision. A extrovert. Amazing speaker. He already takes seminars on college on the topic `Needs of the society`. We planned to join hands to continue his sessions and also add a bit on the Volunteering app.
  6. Our brilliant IIT programmer, who will be leading the whole project.
  7. Other good friend, who is a working as Software Engg in US and committed to support on complete NGO Panel development.

Volunteer App to `Grassroots`

This is the period when the `Volunteer app` turned into `Grassroots` and the website was launched.

To be continued...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Grassroots - Idea to Launch - Part 1 of 4

8 months of Grassroots story...

April, 2016 - Tic Tac Toe Extended

Tic Tac Toe (TTT) game works are going on at full pace with Think Digital team. The games' intent is only to form a team of students, train them on game dev techs.

My idea was this:
  1. In 1 year, I should be running a company where we do Games that yield us economically and once the economy is stable, then we will start doing Social impacting projects.
  2. Once the games earn atleast Rs. 5000 / month, then I am to get loan to run family for 6 months, quit my part time job and put my full effort on further Games.
But I couldn't wait one year to start with Social impacting projects, especially with 3 awesome social impacting ideas in my mind. So I thought of crowd funding, get the cash before hand and working on any social impact project after TTT. Immediate 3 ideas were
  1. Online RTI Generator
  2. Traffic Violation Portal (TVP)
  3. Volunteer App
in that order. RTI Gen and TVP are close to my heart. But there will be a big friction for even NGO people to understand the problem it will be solving. Rather Volunteer app is something which will connect to NGOs/Volunteers easily, will be much appreciated and I can get quick support.

Executing the same with just volunteers is not at all an option, because of the experience with Indian National Developers. So it will be clearly with a freelancing team, who will be paid through Crowd funding.

Then decided on Volunteer app, started R&Ding, putting down the ideas which I had in mind for almost 2 years. By April end, it was something like this.

Crowdfunding to Business idea - Advice from Friends

We launched Tic Tac Toe game in Play store, Chrome Web Store by May after a delay of nearly 3 months. I kept improving the mocks and also estimated the time and cost of the project, along with Resource requirement.

Nakkeeran and Karthik Pandy
Then with these basic documents, I started speak to people to get their feedback. It was Nakkeeran and Karthik Pandy first @ T. Nagar Natesan park. Clearly remember that meet, including having Dosa in that crowded road side shop :-)

The outcome of the discussion is this: It's a fantastic idea and to evolve the product to great heights. Crowd funding wont be a sustainable option. But rather the money required to build the system, should be generated by the system itself, so the whole system will be sustainable.

Prithviraj and Satish Bonthu
Then met with Prithvi and Satish in their Organic Depot. Had quick dialogs on App idea and lengthy conversation on Sustainability model.

Here I concluded that I should be charging NGOs to use the system, as they are the beneficiaries of the project. Ha NGOs, who already stuggle to get donation to do their own activities, will be my customers. How challenging!

Bought some Organic groceries as well.

To be continued...