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SHOWCASE | INTERACT | QUIRKY BITES | MINDSPEAK | VIEWFINDER
Editorâ€™s Note PATTERNS - A theme with as broad a spectrum as Colours, Monochrome and Architecture and precisely because they cannot be classified as right or wrong, good or bad and so on. If one thinks symmetry is making them picture perfect, we have a few in contrary where the asymmetry beautifies the frame with its whole new look and that is something we had in mind while selecting the theme. Truth be told, we were never let down by our participants just as ever and this package will give you a sense of hypnotism and subtle soothe. When the first half covers you awestruck, the second half elates you with an interesting "Interact" session, where we have our guest Mr. Anoop Santhanam, CEO of BINOX. ME sharing his wonderful entrepreneurial experience with us. The 'MindSpeak' session is abstract and filled with information and put it together and you have your compact package of entertainment for September 2014. Happy Glancing! Saranya Manivannan Editor.
Credits MOHAMMED ZOHAEB CEO & Founder
Magazine design by :
SARANYA MANIVANNAN Editor DEEPIKA SINGHANIA Content Head & Writer PRASHANTH SHARMA Photojournalist HARINI RAJGOPAL Travel Photojournalist MONISH SP Director
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SHOWCASE Discover the different patterns from behind the lens.
VIEWFINDER Its time to explore the Great Falls at Virginia with Harini Rajgopal.
INTERACT Talking the talk with Anoop Santhanam.
MINDSPEAK Thoughts, perceptions and more on the world today and the mysteries of life.
The images in this issue are protected under the international copyright law and belong to their respective owners. No photo can be re-used for commercial purposes without obtaining prior permission. These images are under a one-time publishing right only, for IGNIRE â€“ the photography magazine, May 2014.â€?
Featured PHOTOGRAPHERS: Akash Jain Ameyavikram Anne Kasurinen Asim Ir Bharath S. Bhatt Bret Edge Brian J. Magadia Cassandra Rodrigues Chetan Sandhir Galina Semenova Halif Saban Harshad Dhapa Hasan Mahmud Himanshu Jayanta Basu Jayme Hagen Jens Unger Jim Bolick John Jolly Patel Kaushik Chatterjee Keshav Gowreesunker Kiplang’at Ng’eno Louise L. Luis Aquina M. Dale Garman Maitrayee Biswas Marion Sidebottom Max Steele Nisarg Lakhmani Olivier Bergeron
Peter Salas Philip Joseph Raghavendra Joshi Renu Satish Royer V. Zamudio Sarvesh Sundaram Sergio Rola Shashikanth Agnihotry Shawn Johnson Shraddha Bagrodia Skylar L. Primm Soumya B Sreedevi Sunandita Ghosh Tejaswini Nagesh Vinoth Kumar Zeina Gabriel
Front Cover Image: Chetan Sandhir
Background Image: Brian J. Magadia
WRITERS: Abhilash Krishnamurthy Nazreen Fazal Reena Joy S.L.Aishwariya Laxmi
Bharath S. Bhatt
Bharath S. Bhatt
Brian J. Magadia
Brian J. Magadia
M. Dale Garman
M. Dale Garman
Royer V. Zamudio
Royer V. Zamudio
Anoop Santhanam www.binox.me
1. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur. Extraordinary. 2. A walk through of your typical day? Depends on your definition of 'a day'. I wake up at 9:30 every morning and after my morning coffee and breakfast, travel to office to meet the rest of the team, Sankarshana and Nisshan. We’ve got this board full of objectives and each of us knows what to do. I get down to coding and finishing my part for the day. I work in the office till about 7:30 PM, then head home and work again till dinner-time. I watch half an hour of TV while eating and once I’m done, I’m back to work till 2 AM the next day until I doze off in front of my computer. Once my keyboard has made quite an impression on my face, I shut down, and hit the pillow! Then it's back to step-one! 3. How did the idea for your business come about? Back in college, I had always been itching to do something new and different. With just a BCA degree in hand, I knew I needed to do something more to really build a good reputation for myself. I kept trying my hand at different things. Not many people know I’ve written two books and that initially I tried to get one of them published. At the same time, I was also writing content for ContentYogi. It was around this time that I was introduced to San-
karshana in college and we both really wanted to develop a game. We had no idea what it was going to be about and we kept bouncing ideas off each other. There was one day when he had shared a picture of this pretty old game called Gunz (I guess). By then, a few publishers had gotten back to me and I had a few more tabs open to research those publishing houses. And what’s work without music? Soon, I realized it was a pain to switch between that many tasks and I pushed my keyboard away in frustration because there was nothing I could do to help me actually multitask. Then it hit me: Why couldn’t they all be in one place? The rest is history. 4. Why do you think this is a good idea? If you were born in the 90s like I was, you have seen the rise of the internet and how it grew from a handful of popular websites to countless ones now. How can anyone keep track of all the data? We’ve got really cool startups and features being added every day on the internet and someone has got to let people use the internet to its potential. Imagine being able to control the way information is presented to you. Not just colour and images, but content as well. Imagine you could upload 50 pictures, listen to music, chat with someone, read an article, post a status update, and research something for work all at the same time? If any of this makes sense to you,
When you have a concept that wants to cater to eve5. How flexible are you with the new concepts ry corner of the world, you need several consistent that hit up the market, almost on a weekly basis business models. While we haven’t started generating revenue from Binox itself (online transactions), in your industry? Binox Services is leading in the race of revenue genIt’s always an eye-opener. There are two aspects eration. Binox Services (binox.me/binoxservice ) is a that affect what we do. Upgrades in software and part of Binox that allows us to develop websites for addition of features by our competition. Upgrades our clients. We have begun hiring Android, iOS, and in software seldom cause a problem. It does make Windows Phone developers for Binox and they in me go back and change ancient pieces of code but turn will develop for Binox Services for clients who it’s usually to improve the efficiency of our code. Ad- want phone apps as well. dition of features by our competition provides a different perspective at our products. It makes us real- New businesses crop up every day and new busiize what our competition considers vital and more nesses want coverage. Everybody wants to say, “Email me at email@example.com” because it creates an importantly, what’s vital to us. aura of exclusivity. And let’s be honest, it sounds 6. How do you find the right people to work with, cool to have an email ID like that and to have your in your organization that truly care about its suc- own websites. So, we identify people who want cess the way you do? websites – big or small – and startups particularly. Two important aspects to our company is program- Startups have a limited budget and we understand ming and marketing. So far, we’ve hired people that like nobody else. We work on whatever budget purely on a suggestion basis since it doesn’t look is specified and do a great job. We scale their weblike we’re hiring full time employees anytime soon. site as they scale thereby ensuring they’re satisfied We’ve had over thirty journalism interns over the and so are their website visitors. In our experience, last three months. We hired them from Twenty19, this goes a long way. YourStory Jobs, and a few by putting up posters in 10. How well has working in teams helped you colleges. grow? Introduce your crew to our readers, please. When it comes to programming, we are very, very Helping in teams serves one main purpose: to delparticular. Not only does a person need a very spe- egate work efficiently. With more than ten core concific skillset to work at Binox, they need to be excep- cepts that need to be worked on, we have to split tionally good. work and schedule them based on priority. The core team consists of just three of us and one freelance 7. Who has been your greatest inspiration? graphic designer. Mark Zuckerberg. I have plenty like Richard Branson, - Nisshan M: He’s the latest addition to our team. Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates, but Mark tops the list. He’s currently pursuing his BDS but has a habit of 8. How do you build a successful customer base? networking. If he walks up to you and talks to you While our reach has been amplified thanks to news- and you’re having a nice time, chances are that’s expapers and magazine coverages, our greatest reach actly what he’d planned on and he just made a sale will be achieved and has been achieved only via of some sort to you and probably haven’t realized it. word of mouth. We intend to ensure its continuity. - Sankarshana S: The guy I started Binox with. He’s To ensure people recommend Binox to people they currently doing an MBA in Marketing and did a BCA know, we need to make good products and servicwith me. While he’s good at coding, this guy is betes. For a little over a year now, we haven’t marketed ter at managing stuff in the company. Received an big. At least I haven’t been telling anyone to join email from us about something? Now you know Binox. By mid-2013, we had gotten a lot of feedback who sent it. (via the Feedback Zone) on Binox and we realized that if we were going to get people to like us, we - Anoop Santhanam: I’m currently doing an MS in had to revamp everything. And, we did that. In fact, Computer Science. I’d done a BCA before this. When over the last one year we had a lot of users tell us I’m not coding, I’m either reading up on a new concept or playing my guitar. Or eating! that our user interface is terrific 9. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern for - Kishan M K: This guy has a Masters in Fine Arts and has done almost all of our design work. He’s been a consistent business? with us from the start so most of the time, I only what we do at Binox is a good idea.
need to email him and tell him, “Hey man, I need an icon that looks like the Binox logo but with lesser gradient and more modern looking font.” And that’s how our current logo was born. Well, I said some stuff more to him but you get the idea.
erated revenue and there was a lot of pressure at home for all of us. We had just graduated and naturally, peer pressure does play a huge role. It takes a lot of effort to block out what everyone says and to just focus on what you believe in.
11. How has being an entrepreneur affected your social life?
Binox has been live for a little more than 2 and a half years and it’s only over the last half year or so that Haha well, my social life has taken a backseat. I’ve I seem to have found some peace of mind with remissed a lot of get-togethers and a lot of farewells spect to the future of Binox. We spent the last one and while I may not have physically been present for year and more rebuilding Binox from scratch and a lot of important meets, I believe my friends know now it’s equal to a calculator with a holographic that I stand by them no matter what. I guess, in their display! We are now hiring journalism and phone app development candidates for internship and perspective, they always know what I’m doing. we’ve already finished two batches. Things are go12. A startup entrepreneur’s wildest nightmare ing great! would be? In my case, all my code erased! In a general case, negative brand image. 13. How excited are you, when someone approaches you with their ideas for Binox.me ? Initially, I try to keep excitement at bay because in my case, it blurs my ability to rationally reason it out. Once I’m done weighing the pros and cons and if it is genuinely a great idea, you won’t find anyone more excited than me! A little bit of joy every once in a while is always nice. 14. Summarize your early stages and the overall transition from then on, until now. We started out as eight guys and over time, things take its toll. We ran into a difference of opinion. It started with one guy leaving and ended up with five of them leaving. There were three of us left and for most of 2013, that’s how it was. Towards the start of 2014, another guy left because we hadn’t yet gen-
15. Your greatest sacrifice for the sake of success, so far has been? I have lost a lot of time with people. Relationships, music, and writing, in that order. 16. What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this trend and why did you articulate this particular style? Since we’ve built an infrastructure that allows us to “plug” and “unplug” concepts with ease, we are open to people suggesting ideas. We’ve built a few tools on Binox that haven’t been released yet but that allows us to communicate internally in a form of group chat. When you get on the same page with people working with you, you reach a very high productivity level. They need to be comfortable enough to tell me that what I’m suggesting is a bad. I have never personally worked in any other company to ever know what it feels like but my research
has led me to believe that a lot of people don’t like the typical corporate structure. If I can get the laziest of employees to find their job interesting, then the culture we follow has succeeded.
would have wanted to.
A class topper I know works as tech support in a company and a friend of mine who sat in the last bench with me is a project head in a company and 17. How easy or difficult it is to start up from he has never scored a distinction in his life. Marks scratch with the present education system that don’t define us. Schools and colleges need to take most of us have undergone? What amends do you the initiative and push students to think differently and apply what they’ve learnt instead of write exthink will help us make it better, if otherwise? I think that our present education system is both actly what’s in the textbook. encouraging and discouraging the startup trend at the same time. I have several friends you want to do their PhDs. “Why?” I asked them. “What do you mean ‘why’? It’s a Phd!” “So?” I say, confused. “It’s the highest educational degree!” “Again, so?" “It pays well!” and there comes your motive. When you think back on the last few decades and think of notable persons in every industry that you can think of, you can only remember a handful of names. Maybe a little more. But, there are hundreds of millions of graduates every day in this country. Why can’t we remember all of them? Because most of them lead lives that they are supposed to. Not lives that they
The Same The city exploded In a minute reduced to rubble And midst all trouble, He sits, defeated Exhausted "I've lost it all All of it" he cried A tremble was all it took, Life crumbled and Souls tore with no one left to console A baby shoe and his wedding tie, All that was left behind He turned to the divine, And wrung his mind imploring memory to leave no traces behind He set fire to what remained and broke battered walls to wade through love and loss and desire to just die Till he reached the shore humanity forgot and then, Head in his hands, He wept for his terrorist child. - Nazreen Fazal
If They Could Speak If they could speak, You would know me, Long trees in dense forests, Rocks adorning bliss, Slippery roads, Rivers of blood, Cries of pain in silence, For the world is a mute spectator. If they could speak. I would be where you are, Far away from here, Where the are rivers are red, Deafening sounds of death are music, Hands and fingers are miles apart At every step, And life sold in every market. If they could speak, My brothers and friends, You would know, Empty rooms that wait, Windows that treasure eyes, Still and teary, For their blood to return, A return that will never be If they could speak, You would know, This will be the story of blood, The story of life For evermore. -Abhilash Krishnamurthy
Sometimes the questions are simple and the answers complicated... So one day if he/she asks what is it gonna be? Are you gonna be who you are or are you gonna be with him/her? What do you say? Honestly, I don’t see the difference. Being who you are is a way of life. It’s something that is derived out of years of experience and that experience keeps man constantly evolving, you never stop learning, you never stop experiencing. Your learnings and lessons evolve you into who you are today. I don’t see why you can’t be yourself and also be with someone, if you wanted to. It is so juvenile when someone says, “I just want you to be with me, always!” Isn’t that what most of the people we know wanna hear? However, when they say that what do they mean? Do they mean that they want you to be with them always as who you are now? Or are they willing to adapt with what you will evolve into being in the future? Ultimately they evolve too, but do people actually take that into consideration? Are they willing to accept change? In you and most importantly in themselves? Change is a painful thing and is unanimously hated by mankind without an ounce of doubt. Are they willing to adapt to change and adapt together? So many questions, so much grey area. Leaves me thinking for eternity, running about in circles inside my head. I wish the human mind was simpler- just black & white. We all want everything so permanent for such a temporary life! - Reena Joy
Women – where are we today? With the recent spike in the crimes against women, what does it feel to be a woman? Every day, we read about women getting gang raped, molested, abused or otherwise violated. It is sickening no doubt and worrisome when nothing seems to deter the perpetrators of these crimes. They don’t seem to consider the consequences of their actions even upon themselves. A lifetime in prison, the death penalty…none of these punishments seem to stop them from continuing their heinous acts. What can we as women do? Buy pepper spray? Go for self-defense classes? Avoid putting ourselves in dangerous situations? Dress conservatively even if it is blazing hot? Avoid bars? Where does it stop? A six-year old child was raped in school. School! By her skating instructor, no less. Now, reports reveal that the instructor had been fired from the previous school he had worked with because of gross misconduct with the girls there. Was it the responsibility of the previous school to have reported this matter to the police? Yes. Was it the responsibility of the school that hired him to have conducted a thorough background check? Yes. Since they both failed to do their duty, another young victim is now going to suffer for life from the scars inflicted upon her psyche. The bodily scars might heal quickly enough. But the damage done to a young six year-old mind is almost irreparable. So what can we as individuals do about this? We can take precautions against being victims, we can protect young children by monitoring their online activity, not let them befriend strangers, teach them about good touch and bad touch, encourage them to tell their parents everything that happens in their lives, keep a close watch on creepy relatives who might be into paedophilia, chaperone them on visits to the park and teach them self-defence. But will all this alone prevent rape? Sadly, I think we all know the answer to that. No. For that we will have to go into the psychology of rape. What causes men to rape? A feeling of control, power over the victim, instant sexual gratification, messed up childhood of the rapist…There are no quick answers. No ready solutions. What we can do is to spread awareness about this very serious issue facing society today. This is being done in many ways. After the Nirbhaya case, poets wrote poems about the
horrors of rape. It was compiled in an anthology. Laws were reworked. Public outcry was fierce. We still continue to read about cases of rape every day. The truth is this was always happening in society, but now women are gutsier and report these crimes. What of the girl who reports the crime to the police only to find an uncooperative policeman who makes her relive the trauma by recounting the story and not helping her file an FIR? Every individual from every walk of life needs to make a conscious decision to uphold the honor and dignity of a human life. And women who are more vulnerable need to be empowered so that they get stronger - stronger to defend themselves, stronger to speak out and stronger to reclaim their lives. - S.L.Aishwariya Laxmi
The Dark Side I grew up reading books that taught me – children should be out playing in the sun; and this is generally deemed as normal. But that is of course, not the case in India. Here, the children (especially the girls, as usual) are told to stay away from all that glorious sunshine. And no, the harsh heat is not really the reason; it’s the colour of the skin that they’re worried about. Back in my school days, I faintly remember my mother yelling at me to not play out too much during the much awaited summer vacations. She would say,”Don’t play in the sunlight. You’re not listening now; baad me jab kaali ho jayegi tab rothe phirna.” (You’ll cry later when your skin becomes darker) I didn’t pay any attention to it back then, but as I grew up, I realised ‘fair is beautiful’ is the idea that has been deeply etched in our society. I cringe every time the fairness creams ads play out on TV. They all give out the same message in different ways – you need to be fair to be beautiful and you need to be beautiful to do well in your life. What being fair has anything to do with anyone’s career is beyond my logical understanding. Also, apart from the same community being a requirement, ‘a fair bride’ always seems to be the topmost required quality in most matrimonial ads. And, then they say that there’s no 'racism' in India. Yes it’s true that caste was and still is a major cause for discrimination here. But this is mainly because the Indian society on a whole has internalised the stereotype of ‘fair is beautiful’. I have dark skinned friends whose mothers look at me and tell, “Look at how fair she is. Why can’t you be like that?” I know of another friend whose sister gets treated differently (not in the good way, mind you), only because she is slightly darker skinned than my friend. But is it their fault for thinking in the way that they do? I mean, haven’t they been treated in the same way all their life? But that’s no excuse for putting others down based on their skin colour. Dark skinned women themselves feel out of place because they’ve also been conditioned to the same idea of beauty. That needs to stop and NOW. You need to realise that there is no right colour of the skin. These standards of beauty were made for women by the society to do nothing more than to control them. And they seem to be succeeding! So if you’re dark skinned and you’re reading this, then you should know one thing – you’re beautiful the way you are. Colour doesn’t matter; all that matters is the kind of human being that you are. So instead of shying away from the world, stand up proud and prove the world wrong! I don’t know where it all began; for all I know, it could be something that the British left behind. Whatever it is, somewhere along the way, ‘fair, pale and dainty women’ became the standard of beauty. Dark has been ‘othered’ for much too long now. It has been voiceless and sidelined for generations now. So when you think 'racism', think about how you treated that dark skinned girl who sat beside you in the sixth grade. Think about why the media in our country doesn’t use dark skinned women in advertisements. And then think about how wrong all of this is; and when you realise it, try not contributing to the 'racism' in our country.
- Deepika Singhania
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