Saturday, December 13, 2008

Volvo Ocean Race Farewell from Kochi

The India Stoppover of Volvo Ocean Race concluded today here and the racing teams left Kochi for Singapore starting the third leg of the race. The see off ceremony was a remarkable event with thousands of people gathered to see the yachts take off. Sailors seemed enjoying the cheers from crowd and many responded saying thank you in Malayalam. One team was dressed up in typical Mallu dotis. The family members of the sailors were also there to bid farewell. The stunts performed by an international paraglider was another attraction at the event.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Volvo Ocean Race India Stopover, Kochi

Today evening, I visited the race village which is getting ready at Kochi in association with the Volvo Ocean Race India Stopover. Ericsson 4, the team which is leading now has already arrived here and some stalls were also getting ready. The festivities are supposed to start from 3rd December and will last till 13 December. Volvo had set up a big showroom there displaying many vehicles ranging from bigger trucks to compact concept cars.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thrippoonithura Temple Festival

Spent the whole night at the Thrippoonithura Temple Festival and got some interesting photos including the backstage of Kadhakali performance.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kochi Naval Fest

Visited Naval Fest at the Naval Command in Kochi. It is a festival Indian Navy organizes every year to showcase their skills and equipments to public. Many war ships for open for public and the stalls from different departments explained their activities in detail.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Branding case study - Unopix

Brand building is an interesting exercise I have always enjoyed. Even though I have not yet started any companies/brands of my own yet, I had worked on many ideas before. Recent examples are CoolMallu ( and Zosma ( Being a software guy, my initiatives start on the web and usually ends there before hitting the ground. The new idea I have in mind now is to setup a photo studio at my hometown Manjeri. This time I have started from the ground (by booking a building room at Manjeri) and is now planning to use web just as another medium to take it forward.

Even though I am going to start something very small, I like to think big… I mean, think very very big… at an international level!  There is nothing wrong in dreaming big; and dreams are the easiest affordable things you can find pleasure from :).  So the idea do not start from setting up a small town studio room. It starts from being a successful brand having branches/representations all over the world and doing all kinds of business (not just photography work). Naturally, you wouldn’t appreciate a name board like ‘Sameer Studio’ representing a software firm on Times Square in New York! ;)

The first part of brand building is naming. My idea of a great brand name includes following (based on many articles and expert opinions on branding):
-    Very very unique… No one would ever say I have seen another brand exactly like this.
-    Easy to pronounce… should rollout from tongue easily
-    No spelling ambiguity… you say the name over phone, and the buddy at the other end can write it right.
-    Not very long… less than say 10 letters.
-    Availability of .com domain. (It’s required to go international.)
-    Does not directly represent the business you are starting with… name should be still suitable if you get into a different domain of business.

After considering many names like Pixeloma, Ajania, Imagio, etc and receiving feedback from my well wishers, I have now finalized the name Unopix.

The next step is to make a logo. A logo may include the name, acronym, the font typeface, the colors used, the style of writing, a graphical symbol and tagline. For example, McDonald’s logo includes the yellow ‘M’ graphical symbol, “I’m lovin’ it” tag line and the red, yellow, white color combinations. But look at Microsoft logo… It’s just the name of the company written in Helvetica italic typeface, with a slash between the o and s.  It’s simple yet easily recognizable and powerful. I love this kind of simplicity and the cost advantage that comes along while printing/reproducing the logo on different surfaces.

My colleague and friend Hariprashanth spent some hard late night hours with me yesterday to come up with the logo for Unopix. He is an excellent creative designer. Thanks a million, Hari for this work and I am expecting more such helps from you :). In the logo, there is no separate graphical symbol (it adds more cost while implementing the branding) and no tagline (you always ends up in realizing that the tag line is not that relevant for your new venture). It’s just the company name written in a typeface that is simple and clear. There is just one twist… a single pixel (uno pix) standing out from the last letter.

Now comes the hard part. Choosing the right set of colors. The colors need to look interesting, pleasing, and cost effective on all mediums like web site, paper prints, sign boards, etc. I also plan to use these colors for everything related to Unopix, be it walls and work desks inside studio, visiting cards, web site, sign boards, and album covers.


So help me choose the colors… Please let me know which logo you liked by telling me its number (1 to 6 from top to bottom). Also let me know if you liked the name, and the logo.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Velipadukal - Biography of a Sacred Cow

“The human body is sacred and you have to transfer your blessed molecules to the subsequent generations through oral or non-oral molecule transfer”.

Welcome to the future... where the entire world believes in ‘Scientific Religion’. The above quote is an excerpt from ‘The Book’, the holy book that guides the followers of Scientific Religion.

World has dumped all the other religions since long. They are now history and are now referred as the non-scientific ancient religions. They promised of rewards and punishments in some other world to motivate their followers to lead a moral life and failed.

The Scientific Religion grants eternity to its followers - dead persons are cooked well and eaten by others, letting their molecules start their journey to the subsequent generations. When it dawned upon the people that their molecules can attain eternity and lead a human life forever if they make a few compromises and lead a moral life, the entire world marched into Scientific Religion without any reservations. All misdeeds vanished from earth.

Then one day, someone gets a hunch that there is a problem somewhere. ‘Velipadukal – Biography of a Sacred Cow’, a Malayalam short movie, unfolds through the situations the lead character is going through when doubts spring up in his mind about the religion rest of the world blindly follow. As one can expect, being the world’s only non-believer is not going to be fun.

Velipadukal was premiered at Montage Documentary/Short Film Festival at Manjeri last week. It is a daring attempt that cleverly delivers its message to the society through simple thought provoking events. Though the story is happening in a place in the future, do not expect flying cars and busy robots in alien looking surroundings. The events are happening in places familiar to you, where buses and auto-rickshaws are still the primary mode of transport. By avoiding fancy costumes and futuristic surroundings, director has succeeded in projecting the storyline powerfully.

The movie has short but powerful scenes that build the backbone of the story. Though there is just one religion in this future world, there are factions that are divided on petty aspects. Like all religions, Scientific Religion too has extremist groups whose violent thoughts sadden the religion’s supreme. In one scene, the lead character asks “Why am I getting all these doubts about the religion? Is it because I am more intelligent than others?”. Velipadukal portrays all aspects of a religion-driven society through well thought out scenes.

Velipadukal is written and directed by Shahul Ameen. Dhanoop plays the lead role. Ramachandran’s cinematography and J S Shyam’s music works stand out. Visit for more details about this movie.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Good bye Saudi Arabia

After spending busy and eventful 11 days in Saudi Arabia, now it is time to go back. The days here were well spent and enjoyed. I still plan to come back here to explore the remaining places in Saudi and to have another treat with the Arabian cuisine.

Since both of mine and my wife’s leaves were already exhausted, we returned back to Kochi through Mumbai instead of a direct flight to Kozhikode. The flight by Air India was okay, but the long waiting at Mumbai due to the delayed connection flight was really tiring.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Al-Kar and Al-Hada

Al-Kar is a place which is less than an hour drive from Makkah with a small tourist village. It has various rides, family parks, swimming pools and other water amusements. I really enjoyed the Alpine Coaster ride that took me from top of a mountain to the bottom on a trolley car whose speed can be controlled by a break handle.


Al-Hada is another tourist town located in the Taif Mountains at an altitude of 6000 feet (1800 meters). The 4200 meters-long cable car (rope way) ride took us from the low altitude area of Al-Kar, where the temperature was still hot, to the high altitude area of Al-Hada where it was very cold. We spent a lot of time there enjoying for the first time a comfortable weather (it must be around 20 degree Celsius) in Saudi Arabia, before returning back to Al-Kar by cable car.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Jeddah Visit

I have some friends and relatives living and working at Jeddah, whom I wanted to visit during this trip. But we never got a relaxed schedule for that and kept this plan postponed. Today we had some time in the evening for a quick visit to Jeddah.


We visited the Jeddah Beach where the huge water fountain in the sea was the major attraction. After spending some time in shopping malls and meeting my school time friend Firoz, we returned back to Makkah after midnight.

Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah

We came back to Makkah from Madinah after the adventures at Madain Saleh. My sister and family, who are now settled in Khamees Mushait (Also spelled as Khamis Mushayt, is a beautiful oasis town in Saudi near Abha city) were there to spend a day with us.

We headed to Mina and Mount Arafat areas near Makkah where the major rituals during the Hajj pilgrimage are performed. The whole area was empty and thousands of white tents meant for the pilgrims stood out from the plains reminding us how crowded this place would become during Hajj.


However the Muzdalifah area was busy with facilities for camel and desert bike rides targeting the tourists. We did enjoy it though the rides were very short. The guys there also carried Polaroid cameras to give us instant photos of the rides.