Love Matters: India’s first bilingual website launched at QTube Cafe in Bandra

Love Matters , India’s first bilingual website dedicated to love, sexuality and relationships organized a one of its kind Open mic session on Valentine day on February 14, 2017 in Mumbai’s quiet but hip QTube Café in Bandra. The event saw a jam packed venue where many came forward to share their tryst with love, sexuality or identity, their take on relationships, family, and society. The gathering was of young and old people, many came with their parents to taste the non judgmental and open minded session.

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While speaking at the event, Vithika Yadav, RNW Head-India, Love Matters India, said: “We organized this open mic session as a true free speech event for young Mumbaikars to come together and have an opportunity to have frank and open conversations on love, sexuality and relationships.”

Love Matters opened its doors for everyone and the differences of Mumbai walked in, slightly unsure and then they took to the stage, and all those differences dissolved to form, what united them for that moment forming a road of open dialogue. With an opportunity to share openly, people poured their hearts out; what they felt about love, lessons they have learnt on the way, good and bad both, how they feel towards every individual deserving a fair chance to love who they want, to freely talking about their sexuality, about society’s perception, attitude and acceptance of every individual.
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“The idea behind an open-mic event with young people is to shed all the judgement around different sexuality and preferences. We don’t want the society to label someone. We want everyone to come together and hear each other patiently”, Roshan Kokane, web editor for Love Matters India, pointed out.
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Love Matters India is moving towards changing how people perceive and are perceived by others, they want to bridge the gap that creates this difference through respectful dialogues and ‘Let’s Talk About Us’ the open mic session in Mumbai was a step towards creating that platform.

Love Matters India is the first ever bilingual English and Hindi website about sex and sexuality in India. It aims to provide science-based information on love, sex and relationships so people can make informed choices, and to create spaces where everyone is free to ask questions and engage in online conversations. In 2016 itself, the website has attracted an average of two million users a month and there in excess of one million followers on Facebook.

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Voizd aims at 5 million users in two years in India

Voizd, the audio based anonymous online social space provider is aiming at becoming the defacto safe social space for people to discuss topics most close to their hearts. “We are looking forward to on-board around 5 million users in next 24 months”, say Sameer Agarwal and Pooja Daswani, Founders of Voizd: Voice Without Fear. The duo reveals the growth potential of their venture and more to Jayashankar Menon in an interview. Excerpts:

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JM: Can you talk a big about Voizd and its parent firm in the US?

SA: Voizd Inc., is our parent firm, located in the US. Voizd.com was launched in September 2016. Voice Without Fear is an anonymous mobile app where you can freely express every opinion and thought in your own voice without the fear of being judged, labeled or trolled. A 30-second anonymous (optional) audio clips are available to express your thoughts. A network of real people connects based on real thoughts. Content discovery based on Trending Topics, Emotions and Proximity, Relevant topics. Community with a support system created by the people themselves

JM: When and How VOIZD came into existence?

SA: During 2013 general elections and post elections while sharing his opinions on many issues, I started getting death threats and troll attacks, initially I thought it’s isolated to political opinions but soon realized that our society in general has become quite intolerant towards opinions and thoughts which are divergent from mainstream. I also realized that we as a society subconsciously judge and label people based on their every thought and action and hence most people are always trying to fit in with the status quo even with very basics of their expressions, that seeded the idea of creating a safe space where people can be themselves.

While the app was still on the drawing board a conversation with an acquaintance made the team realized that traditional social spaces today are owned by English speaking audience and people who are not very comfortable with English or other written forms get hard end of the stick, hence the team decided that Audio/ Voice based expression should be mainstay of the App, as everyone can speak even when they are not very comfortable in writing. What voice also does is that it keeps the essence, emotion, tonality, of the poster and hence the message intact leading to a deeper connect between the poster and listener.

JM: How did you build the core team (co-founders and initial employees) – How did you meet and how did everyone align to the idea?

SA: Pooja, Rajiv and I use to work together at RockeTalk, which was founded by the latter. Pooja used to run Communities and I was the CMO and Sales head. All three of us had experience in building large communities, Social spaces and audio based interactions. I also knew that both of them have also faced similar troll and judgment attacks on social networks and real life so when I discussed the idea they connected with it. Then came the task of hiring core-engineering team. Since we are bootstrapping it we dug into our combined network to find talent from UI/UX to Engineering team, which helped us pushing the beta app out.

JM: Describe Your Startup, and explain, what exactly it does?

SA: VOIZD is an audio based Anonymous online social space where people around the world share real thoughts and experiences and trade advice. What’s catchy is that, you get to share all the above anonymously and in voice without the entire persistent real name trapping of other networks.

The app protects your identity, so you can go all out sharing what you actually feel without having to fine-tune it (i.e you can be 100% real), so basically it Gives you the Power to share your thoughts without the fear of being judged, labeled and trolled. It is an anonymous sharing app where you can divulge your deepest secrets to an audience of unknown people, and respond to their secret confessions or questions. The app beta was launched in Sepember 2016.

JM: What prompted you to start the VOIZD as another social network with many being already in the market?

SA: With traditional social networks being purely identity driven, the feeling of always being in the spotlight forces us to relentlessly curate how we self present online. Constant self-monitoring to hide our rough edges or different opinions to “fit in” leaving no space to be original, be weird or flawed. This especially sucks for the young people, who wish to freely exchange their thoughts and ideas.

Voizd is the only social space at the intersection of audio and anonymity, giving its user power to share their most intimate thoughts and issues without the barrier of language and education, as everyone can speak and Listen. Purely Visual and text based social spaces often leaves a huge mass of people, with powerful ideas on the sidelines. Text is limiting, and video is too bandwidth hungry and risky for countries like India. Besides, text lacks the emotive power of expression that voice carries, appealing to our very basic senses. It is also friction free and has no sign up on boarding.

JM: Who Are Your competitors? How are you different from them?

A: How are we different: Expressing your true thoughts on identity driven social networks means being trolled by people who do not share the same opinion as yours. It is at the cost of being judged by your very own family, friends or co- workers.

On Voizd you can freely express every opinion and thought in your own voice in 30-second anonymous audio clips. Since there is no sign up hence people connect with your thoughts/opinions than your identity leading to thought becoming more important that the user.

JM: Is The Startup funded? If Yes, provide details like – date, stage and source of funding.

SA: VOIZD is currently bootstrapped by the founders. We are working towards growing the network further and looking for funding.

JM: What are the technologies Used in VOIZD?

SA: Server side: Java, Apache, PhP, MySQL, MongoDB, Redis, Hadoop, Elastic Search  and Native implementation on Android and iOS client.

JM: Provide statistics of Your Startup/App/Project such as tractions per month, revenue generating per month or any other stats that the company wants to share with us to influence our readers.

SA: VOIZD beta app was only exposed in mid September last year, to a 100 people but since has organically grown to 2000 users, doing over five thousand posts and over one lakhh public conversations, from topics ranging from Relationships, Gender issues, Fashion, Abuse. Around 70 % of our current users are women and highly vocal.

JM: What challenges are you facing in running your business?

SA: Indian startup ecosystem is skewed towards ecommerce/ transactions based business models and VOIZD is trying to build a social networking product with social impact out of India which is unheard of, plus it is easy to raise funds for copy past business models from western world but not when you are trying to do something totally out of the box. Even startup accelerators applications don’t have a column for mobile social, they have for everything from payments to commerce to food delivery but not for social startups

On the product side while audio is super engaging, UGC around Audio is hardly attempted in India which has both tech and acceptability challenges as with any new concept

JM: How do you look at expansion?

SA: Voizd aims to become the defacto safe social space for people to discuss topics most close to their hearts and we are looking forward to on-board around 5 million users in next 24 months.

Parampara Series National Festival of Dance and Music at Delhi on September 30, 2016

Every year as a part of its endeavour to redefine and rejuvenate India’s rich cultural heritage, Natya Tarangini and Padma Bhushans Dr. Raja Radha Reddy organize the ‘Parampara Series’ – National Festival of Music and Dance in capital city, New Delhi, according to a statement.

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The Parampara Series 2016, which is conducted right after the soothing monsoon and just before the withering autumn, has stood firm for the last 19 years and is now synonymous with Delhi’s annual cultural scene. Over time Parampara has blended concerts by presenting classical geniuses under creative themes giving uniquely fresh approach to otherwise traditional arts forms.

This year Natya Tarangini is presenting Parampara Series from the September 30 2016 to October 2 2016 from 7.00 pm to 9.30 pm at Kamani Auditorium (New Delhi). The festivals which will be represent some of the most successful dance productions of recent times in addition to musical concerts by legendary artists. As always the Parampara Series will showcase every evening two concerts (Dance and Music).

Malavika Sarukkai debuts on group choreography Vamatara – Light

Malavika Sarukkai, danseuse par excellence, an acknowledged choreographer and a Padma Shree Awardee is introducing a group choreography for the first time ever, titled Vamatara – To The Light on September 2, 2016 at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Malleshwaram, Bangalore.

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Malavika’s choreographs are known for the incandescent beauty of the classical language of Bharata Natyam and the energised articulation of a contemporary mind. Intense, extraordinary and luminous are the qualities that distinguish her dancing.

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‘Vamatara – To the Light” is the latest dance creation of Malavika, which opens a new chapter in her artistic journey with the introduction of group choreography for the first time. The concept rests on the enduring image of the lotus rising from the sludge to the light, as a symbol of hope. What is more, this production includes group work in addition to Malavika Sarukkai’s solo choreographies. Vamatara is a validation of the dynamics within classical dance which allows for creative freedom, innovation and imagination.

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In recognition of her contribution, Malavika has received many awards including the Padma shree, the Sangeet Natak Academy Award, the Kalaimamani award, the Raza award, the Mrinalini Sarabhai award and more. Furthermore, Malavika has recently been awarded the Natya Kala Acharya Award by the Music Academy of Bangalore.

Grand Winter Carnival at Gurgaon on December 19-20 2015

In what could be termed as the first ever winter carnival in Delhi NCR, VRV Entertainment, an event management firm is organising the Grand Winter Carnival at HUDA Grounds, Gurgaon from December 19-20, 2015. According to a company statement, it is a perfect destination for the shopaholics, foodies and for all those who love music and games.

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Get set to experience a well-deserved weekend getaway, wherein you would get great opportunity to feed your shopping hunger. The range of products that one can choose from includes lifestyle, designer clothes, home decor, handicrafts, high-end luxury products, electronics and much more. Music Band will belt out the popular chartbusters to enthrall the crowd. Additionally, the visitors would get a great opportunity to treat their taste buds in the food court. Good care has been taken about the fun element and various games have been planned for the visitors, specifically the kids.

The Grand Winter Carnival is going to be a one of its kind event in Delhi NCR this winter.

Venue: HUDA Grounds, Leisure Valley Road, Next to Leisure Valley Gate 2, Gurgaon 122001

Date: 19-20th December 2015

Activities Planned:

Great shopping options and a wide variety of clothes, accessories, lifestyle, home décor, handicrafts and much more to choose from.
Lip-smacking food options from the best of restaurants in and around NCR
Fun rides, games and other engaging activities to bring life to the carnival games
Soul-refreshing decoration accompanied with amazing performances by dance groups, rock bands, magicians, world class puppet shows and much more

Visitors can enjoy free WIFI courtesy by our connectivity partner Airtel broadband.

Vikalp Aggarwal, the founder of the VRV Entertainment and the brain behind Grand Winter Carnival, said: “The carnival is a mélange of fun, food and shopping for our patrons. The event will be decorated with some of the amazing performances by dance groups, rock bands, magicians, world class puppet shows and much more to keep everyone entertained and engross in the event that nobody would want to leave. We are expecting 25-30 thousand people over the period of two days. Attention is given to every detail so that people just enjoy without any care. We are absolutely delighted to welcome our partners Airtel Broadband, Weddingplz.com, Radio One, Broomberg and ticketplease.com. Hope to have a successful grand winter carnival like our grand partners.”

Asian Designer Week 2015 to be held at Hotel Golden Tulip Delhi from October 28-29

iGenius Entertainment, the brand owner of Asian Designer Week announced the schedule and the list of designers for the 1st season of Asian Designer Week powered by FTV – Fashion Crosses Borders, according to a statement issued by the company.

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Announcing the Autumn Festival, Robby Rawat, Director – iGenius Entertainment, said: “I am delighted to announce the show schedule and the participating designers at the Asian Designer Week 2015 powered by FTV. We look forward to a great event with some stunning presentations by leading designers from Indian and international fraternity. The concept behind Asia Designer Week is that it embodies the strong bond that exists between Asian countries with respect to the cultural values, traditions and heritage despite the diversities. The fashion event has been solely conceived for promoting the interests of fashion designers, choreographers, makeup artists, etc. across Asia. With Asian Designer Week, we also want to give an opportunity to existing and fresh talents across the continent, therefore we have kept shows for NewGen and NextGen (Fashion Students) designers as well.”

Those present at the media briefing included Show Director Liza Varma, Hair and Makeup expert Samantha Kochhar, Rajan Madhu, Promoter Fashion TV (India), Charu Parashar, Grand Finale in the presence of leading Indian Designers and their Models who would be sashaying the ramp during the two-day event. The shows will be held between October 28-29, 2015 at Hotel Golden Tulip, Chattarpur, New Delhi.

Asian Designer Week 2015 is powered by FTV in association with F Bar & Lounge CP, Audi Delhi West, Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic, iGenius Global Services and Piquor. The institutional partners are Pearl Academy and JD Institute of Fashion Technology.

Motorsports 2015 India: Yokohama team to compete in 1600, 2000 cc categories

In order to strengthen its Motorsports activities in India and further gain a stronger footing for future car rallies, Yokohama India Private Limited, the wholly owned arm of Japanese tyre major Yokohama has announced its team for Motorsports 2015 India.

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According to a company statement, Team Yokohama will compete in the 1600 and 200 cc categories of the Indian Rally Championships. The team consists of experienced ralliests. Driver – Rahul Kanthraj and Co-Driver – Vivek Bhatt driving Mitsubishi Cedia, competing in 2000 CC and Driver – Karna Kadur + Co-Driver M Chandrashekar competing in 1600 CC on a Volkswagen Polo. Yokohma also supports Prithvi Domnic + Co-Driver Pruthvi Ithal in 2000 CC Domnic is a Yokohama YCN dealer in Bangalore as well as a Motorsports enthusiast.

Takeshi Harada, Director (Sales and Marketing), Yokohama India, while introducing the team said: “Yokohama has been part of Motorsports events the world over. I would also like to mention the completion of 10 years as a sole Tyre supplier to WTCC, an FIA World Championship, this is a proud moment. Therefore, for us participating in the IRC was a foregone conclusion as Motorsports is today part of the Yokohama philosophy.”
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“The launch of Team Yokohama is a proud moment, we have been providing Tyre support and participating for various Motorsports events in India since 2008 and excellent results have encouraged us to continue in this course”, Sanjay Chatterjee, General Manager, Yokohama India added.

From 2008 -2010 Yokohama had been the official tyre partner to Red Rooster racing for INRC events. The results during that partnership were encouraging. Since 2008 year after year Yokohama Tyre supported cars have always found place on the Podium at Raid De Himalaya, one of the toughest Rallies. Yokohama’s IRC 2014 results have also been encouraging with the Team winner 2000 CC, Team winner 1600 CC and Rahul Kanthraj as Best driver 2000 CC .
Rahul Kanthraj and Vivek Bhatt duo started rallying in the year 2000 and has participated in over 75 rallies. Together they have won 4 Group and National championships and finished runners up on 4 other occasions. They will participate in the 2000 CC Category.

Participating in the 1600 CC Category, Karna Kadur, who has been part of over 95 (2& 4 Wheel) events and has won 2 NATIONAL Championship Titles and 12 National event wins. He has had 80 PODIUMS finishes with his Co-Driver M Chandrashekar.

The FMSCI was founded in the year 1971. The Indian rally championship (IRC) was renamed in 2014 but started had way back in the year 1978 and ran as the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC).

Globally other than replacement tyres business, Yokohama tyres is original equipment suppliers to many top of the line car manufacturers like Audi, Honda, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Suzuki and Toyota.

Yokohama India is 100% subsidiary of The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. Yokohama Rubber Company(YRC) is already running in to 10th decade of its establishment in Japan, under its management plan GD100(Grand Design 100, on completion of 100 years of operations in 2017) decided to foray in to Indian market in 2007. India being one of the fastest growing automobile markets got Yokohama India Pvt. Ltd. to invest in land for its manufacturing unit.