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Hand in hand for eternity

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Year Into The Path That Chose Me

I know I know it is absolutely wrong to oversell, even more so to bore your followers and readers but (biting nails) my fingers have a will of their own. Stop them if you can - they are just flying all over this keyboard like raving lunatics! All they want to express is the feeling of nervousness mingled with sheer rejoice at having spend the year 2013 with Social Potpourri. After all these were the same fingers that typed and deleted the first ideas that came forth from my head. These very same villains clicked on "send" on the numerous contracts that we signed during the formation of the company.
There have been a number of downs too - that is true. But neither I nor you would like to dwell on them would we? Those were lessons learned that helped us grow and here we are... We created yet another rudimentary video (thank you apps) of our journey. It's been nerve wracking to think back at the plunge we took and even more so to imagine the future. We have no idea where we are headed or where we want to be but here we are for NOW

Stay with us dear friend. I will take you with me in all my triumphs and never let a whimper of failures touch you... Cheers to all that awaits!

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Book of Commitment

The sound of rain outside was incessant. In a flat cum office in Lajpat Nagar, around an unassuming round table, sat four women in deep discussion.  The topic of grave importance to each – taking steps to engage orphans into a life of meaningful existence. What could be done to bring elements we consider imperative into their lives. The ideas were innumerable but the time too less. Some of these children would have to become independent in a matter of just a couple of years. The women represented Social Potpourri and an NGO they were affiliated with.

Back in 2010 Sulekha Rawat was slowly creeping her way into writing again, discovering what the huge hue and cry about blogging was anyway and finally getting really flustered at the realization that it couldn't happen with good old pen and paper. She just didn't want to see the virtues of typing her thoughts directly on to what is going to be a new blog post. The same beautiful thoughts that tumbled down her head into a fresh sheet would refuse to budge when faced with a shining blank screen.

Photo Credit

Around the same time I was just about gathering the pieces of my corporate life lived thus far and separating the things that might have to go with the arrival of my first born. A transition that has never been easy for any woman (as opposed to superwomen). Only we women have the ability (if not the power) to receive whatever comes to our life graciously and reshuffle our priorities to an almost unrecognizable stage from what they used to be. Hence from getting married, moving countries, to becoming a mother my career had seen innumerable modifications. For better or for worse, when I transitioned from being an occasional chubby cheek pincher to becoming a full time nurturer, I also shelved my full time job and evolved into an independent marketing consultant. All this resulted in me eventually becoming less of a real person and more a virtual one.

Photo Credit

I don’t remember which post of Sulekha’s I had read first but I do recall falling in love with not only her style but her mind. I had started blogging myself as I was at the stage where any kind of recognition that I could get while sitting at home was welcome. There are very few out there who out and out criticize you for what you have written. The innumerable comments under my blog had almost become equivalent to winning a business pitch at work. And that’s how I thrived. Then one day I saw a comment under a post I had written by Sulekha herself and I remember thinking “Damn I must be really good!”

Many such exchanges later, a purist writer (Sulekha with her pen and diary) and an e-book abhorrer (me) decided to up the relationship with skype. A few such skype sessions later (and for some reason that I still cannot fathom) we molded an idea called Social Potpourri. Over such brief virtual meetings, plastering distances that even the sun could not cover on the same day we signed on dotted lines and registered a company together. It’s been two years since that happened and I am happy to tell you that Sulekha Rawat had to happen to give me a new leash of life and not because I was going to be duped by some crazy fanatic sitting in India. (An old joke that our mutual contacts are sick of hearing!)

Photo Credit 

Sulekha Rawat is an entrepreneur of the year every year not because she has a keen sense of business but because she is the epitome of what every business person should be. She would rather die than fleece anyone (Fleecing in her dictionary is more akin to a simple lie or an over exaggerated statement rather than “Obtain a great deal of money from (someone), typically by swindling them”).

Every day of my life I see a woman in there who has suddenly discovered a talent with my entry into her life. She is a business woman who dotes on her son, who has a bursting yet hidden pride in her rebellious daughter, who may sulk but sees logic in her husband’s reason almost every time, who lets a twat like me scream at her when upset, writes like a true lover and meets deadlines with a vengeance.

Together we have increased readership for writers, have brought visitors to client’s websites, have increased customer base for small businesses and have even published an anthology to give that first opportunity to unpublished writers. This e-book abhor-er now sees business sense in cutting down the hate a notch or two with technology and is still trying to convince Sulekha that using the laptop straight of actually isn't so bad! Technology is good! After all Social Potpourri is making a huge difference with it.

Our honesty (and a little procrastination in getting rich) may be slowing us down but we are here to do some good work and change the way business people are perceived in this country.

In two years we have met at least 200 of our 600 plus members who also believed in our initiative called “offline meet-ups”. We have even used these meet-ups to help other businesses like us get the push they need. There must have been a reason why we had to do this –people who have benefited from Social Potpourri seems to know what that is. In the meantime we trudge along with our bag of stories and services. We have huge milestones to cover.

One Social Potpourri's much earlier meetups

The Udayan Care Family

Sulekha and Me
Our First Publication

A few members we have been fortunate to meet

The sound of rain outside was incessant. In a flat cum office in Lajpat Nagar, around an unassuming round table, sat four women in deep discussion.  The topic of grave importance to each – taking steps to engage orphans into a life of meaningful existence.

We’ve put a thunderous tick against seven initiatives we decided on and the rest are in random notes on Sulekha’s book of commitment.

Written for the Indiblogeshwaris Ladies Independence Special Contest in association with

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Trendy Trend?

So lately I have been screaming "Safety" from rooftops! There may be a little selfishness involved with this act of mine, a little desperation too. I am selfish because more than the safety of the people I am preaching to, I desperate to be proud of my country. There was a time when I would defend it in the face of an insult and internally claw the person concerned till his face was unrecognizable but I feel defeated at the face of the current situation! There also was a time when I hid embarrassing national occurrences from the world and smiled a fake pride to shoo them away. I realize now that stage has been taken away from me. I stand a ground of reality caked with savagery. And hence the screaming - the screaming inside and outside! 

It was in the midst of all this chaos that I found an opportunity to organize a bloggers meet for a company called SafetyKart. This not only gave me an opportunity to meet my online blogger friends but also introduce them to my favourite word - and by now, I trust, you all know what that is... So it was decided a Social Potpourri Meetup it would be. After having created a really ambitious list of the bloggers I would invite, I sat there giggling at the change I would be a part of. When all these writers, thought leaders in their own purview created a buzz about proactive safety I will have changed a little of the society I thought. And as happens with thoughts like that, I walked tall... 

The S that ensure Safety
And so the days filled up with organizing the stuff that comes with an event and soon we were at the venue. The day I would mark in my calendar as "the first step" had approached. I had a team of soldiers and Vikas Bagaria backing me up completely or was it vice versa? Vikas, the managing director of the company is without doubt someone I look up to. He is the kind of guy who doesn't believe he's done a favour to the world by acknowledging women rights. He acknowledges them just as a matter of fact and respects it as much as he respects his own fundamental privilege.  

The Multi-functional Car Safety Tool

I love the innovation he has put into his portal and the thought process behind it all. The primary objective of SafetyKart is to equip one with safety in all walks of life. Here is my two cents on that - I wonder how it is that people spend hundreds of thousands to get the most expensive car, high end gadgets, a tummy tuck to go with a face lift or even just take pride in their simple being are not aware of how to safeguard the same. I wonder how they feel secure without something like the multi-functional car safety tool or defense equipment like the ones displayed under one umbrella in 
an e-commerce portal? And it is not only about them that I wonder. The cost of a pepper spray in SafetyKart is equivalent to a grain of sand even when it is not compared to the cost you may have to pay with your either your modesty or your life! Even Rathin Basu may not have had to create headlines if he had one of those!! Isn't it high time that Safety became a trend?

My personal favorite - Barton Door Block 
True to its objective SafetyKart has a calendar of CSR initiatives it plans to take up. The company will take it upon itself in equipping orphanages and Children related NGOs with Barton Door Blocks. It is the knowledge of these facts that really make one respect a company and then hold on to that desperate hope once again - the hope that I may not have to hide behind all those headlines after all.
Here is how the Barton Door Block  works -

I met some really awesome bloggers at the meet. 

Bloggers from L-R - Majulika P. Sehgal, Ekta Khaitan, Meghna Agarwal,
Awungshi Philamanzan, Deepti Pant, Rigzin Namgyal,  and Vikas Bagaria 
Meghna Agarwal, present in the audience posted this on Facebook after the meet: 
"Was great to connect with SP - Kriti Mukherjee and Sulekha Rawat and Safety Kart team at the bloggers meet. Learned about an amazing brand - SafetyKart, an eCommerce  business portal that comprises of revolutionary products that were earlier used only by B2B, now made available to consumers to ensure the safety and security of your loved ones at homes, and outdoors .....These products are damn interesting, innovative and safe to use.. you can find anything right from pepper spray, to protect women to Crush free, waterproof laptop cases, IPhone and IPad cases, safer paper cutters, temperature recorders, torches, bulky camera cases to protect them from any kind of environment. Very interesting initiative started by Vikas Bageria and team. I am sure these products will make our homes and surroundings much more safer and secure...Add Safety Kart on facebook to stay updated about their line of products.. and more..."

Some others had this to say: 

The power group from L-R - Manjulika P. Sehgal, Ekta Khaitan, 
Meghna Agarwal, Awungshi Philamanzan
Manjulika P. Sehgal  -
Awungshi Philamazan -

From L-R - Vikas Bagaria, Rishabh Malik, Arijit Ghoshal, me, 
Sulekha Rawat, Sonia Kapoor, Swati Bhattacharya 

I am looking forward to some of the other bloggers posts and will put them up here enthusiastically once I see them. Till then, outsmart the dangers awaiting you. Beat them hollow - Stay safe!