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Vatsap? 2020 Sep 20 Newsletter

Every Sunday, I share with you my creations, weekly discoveries and analysis of how the world works. Subscribe here.


Do things get easier or harder for me in the second phase of my Myanmar shoot?

This is my ongoing BTS video-series that I had finished shooting in Feb. In case you have not yet seen the earlier episodes, here is the link to part 1 and 2. Watch these – you will have fun.

Did you know that when you just watch someone having fun, your own brain registers the same activity as it would do, when you yourself are having fun?

That’s the magic of mirror neurons – that are used to study empathy. Talking about empathy, let me ask you something.

If everyone had friends from minority groups, would there be less bigotry overall?

I explore the answer to this question in my new blog. I also introduce a very interesting 2019 book called ’The War For Kindness’.

Some people don’t think bigotry can be brought down by ‘friendships’ (because friendship is easily faked / can be just superficial). But then, there actually is enough evidence to suggest that bringing people together, does work (CONTACT HYPOTHESIS). Read my blog – there are some very interesting experimental data that I have shared. It’s a short insightful read.

You can also listen to this Contact Hypothesis topic on my podcast. Search for VATSANALYSIS on your favourite podcast-platform and do subscribe.

Not all bigotry is natural of course.

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Why you so predictable Arnab?

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What Arnab does in his show for example, is by design. A performance. I had fun this week creating music to bring out how predictable this asshole is. Watch the above 1 minuter. If you want a more ‘melodic’ take on Arnab’s by-design stupidity, Mayur never disappoints.

Irrespective of what other drama is happening in our country, Covid is still around and only getting stronger. Once again, I do have my weekly death projection updates ready.

Reported death count now stands at over 85k. We will cross 1 lakh deaths in just two more weeks (as per my estimates – that I have explained in my blog). And if the growth continues the way it has been, another 1 lakh will be dead just in October and November!

Check out my full analysis to see how we have no other option but to live under the shadow of Covid for many more months to come. Not all shadows suck this much though.

When shadow becomes art…

While you cannot have a tree inside your room, you can definitely have plants. If you’ve been discouraged from getting plants because your room doesn’t get plenty of sunlight, check out this super useful Twitter thread by @batonthemoon where she shares a wonderful list of plants that you can easily grow in a window-less room! You are almost towards the end of this newsletter now.

Oh by the way, you should also check out what my friend Shweta creates on her @amillionforestdotcom insta channel. Below is a photo I recently took of Princy (my wife), with one of Shweta’s creations – some very cool planty stuff.

Now that we are on the theme of plants and nature, let’s look at what’s happening in one particular rice field and as we watch, let’s exclaim together…

WHAT THE DUCK!!

That’s all for this week. Stay safe, consume less, create more, make this world a better place and I will get back to you next Sunday!

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Vatsap? 2020 Sep 13 Newsletter

This Sunday, I continue my Myanmar Vlog, share the psychology of why you may have felt odd about Trump being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, question you on whether you should feel proud of Kalpana Chawla, share something on cancer research + my weekly Covid updates and end with a Shitoon.


The Myanmar saga continues

I hope you enjoyed part 1 that I shared last week. Here is the second part of my four part BTS series. You will see me travel to an island in a crazy ferry ride and chase some stories. Feb was fun!

My Myanmar story is all fun and happy but The New York Times had something serious that it brought out this week – on the killings of the Rohingya Muslims in the country. It’s something really worth reading.

The PM equivalent of Myanmar (State Councellor) is an old lady named Aung San Suu Kyi who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 (when she was under house arrest by the country’s military). This week, when I heard about Trump’s nomination for the coveted prize, I really wanted to understand what was happening.

I read up a little on the Nobel Peace Prize and have some interesting insights to share.

Give it a read?

Also, tell me, did you feel proud as an Indian when Kailash Satyarthi won the Prize in 2014? If yes, why? After all, what was your contribution towards his achievement?

I have thought about this “feeling proud” thing for quite some time. I wondered again when I read the news below, this week.

The phenomenon that describes this is called BIRGing and if you have never heard of it before, do check out my short blog on the topic. And then tell me, is it okay for me to feel proud of IIT Madras just because I graduated from it?

I had made a bunch of videos for IITM last year as part of its 60 years celebration (60 videos X 60 second).

One such 60 seconder was published this week – it is about cancer research and I think what is happening in IIT Madras in this area is fascinating (whether or not I feel proud of it).

Now that we are talking about cancer, let’s also quickly touch upon Covid. My weekly updates and projections are out as usual.

India is at 77k+ reported Covid deaths (56 per million) and would cross 1 lakh by month end / Oct first week. Pune is leading the growth where 700+ per million have already died.

Do check out my full analysis where I also explain till when cases / deaths could keep rising.

Enough of grimness; let’s have some laughs at the expense of Covid now, shall we?

Before I end, I drew something this week, so check that out.

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For all the crazy ones out there. @amritvatsa

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This is all that I have to share. If you are in the mood for Netflix reccos – do watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix (thankfully it’s not a series).

Have a great day and a great week, stay safe, spend less time on Social Media, do something good for the world and I will see you again, in a week’s time!

-Amrit

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Vatsap? 2020 Sep 06 Newsletter

IN THIS SUNDAY’S NEWSLETTER, I TALK ABOUT MY MYANMAR ADVENTURES, INDIA’S FALLING GDP BUT RISING COVID FIGURES, AKSHAY KUMAR’S VIDEO GAME CONNECTION, ARNAB’S ADDICTION, JAPANESE BODYBUILDERS AND FEMINISM.


I was in Myanmar for two weeks in Feb, on a film-making assignment. When I was not shooting the actual stories, I was Vlogging.

If you have never been to Myanmar, the above fast-paced BTS Vlog will give you a short and sweet peekaboo. What were the stories that I was there to shoot? See the video na? I will release the three remaining parts in the next two weeks.

None of my Myanmar Vlog videos will match the coolness of the video below, though (randomly came across it while browsing YouTube).

How much more time, before the above will be another addition to the banana ride adventure packages sold at Goan beaches?

This flying human almost looks like he is from a video-game, isn’t it? And talking about video-games, of course the news of the week has been FAU-G!

While Akshay Kumar pitched FAU-G as a nation building game, I discovered that it has a weird China connection in itself. Highlighting some irony and some plagiarism, I think my blog on the topic has turned out juicer than a typical mango. You tell me! By the way, guess what Akshay Kumar was trying out in April, this year? The same flying suit from the company you saw above (Gravity Industries). I wouldn’t be surprised if someday he launches his own atmanirbhar (but copied) version of flying suits under the name “Khiladi Industries”.

The mango season may have ended, but the Covid season is going to last a lot longer.

My updated projections on Covid deaths in India are out, as usual. We are at 70k deaths now – of which 30k died in just one month. We will cross 1 lakh deaths in a month (i.e. by early October). You can check out my full analysis for details.

Also, we are at 4 million total positive cases, of which half the figure was recorded in just a month!

Other than India, this week I also specifically looked at Goa (where I live). At the present growth rate of cases and deaths in the state, it looks like the growth could flatten (peak) in October after about 450 more people die (death toll till last week was around 200).

Now, we always knew that the lockdown imposed to control the growth of Covid was hurting our economy. But finally, we know exactly by how much. But do we?

Can we really make sense of the 23.9% decline in the Apr-May-June quarter GDP?

Some are saying it’s a global phenomena. Others are pointing out that comparing different countries is like comparing apples with oranges. I have tried making sense of all the GDP related noise that you may have heard this week.

Now, every industry is trying to come up with creative ways to bounce back to normalcy. But what one restaurant in Japan is doing, is, well, in a league of its own! Just watch the video below.

Most Indian mainstream TV news channels, as expected, continued to discuss Rhea more than the economy or Covid. So, I created some music and made a funny video to salute one such anchor in particular. Hope you like it.

Given that I don’t watch TV at all, such nuisance doesn’t affect me much, personally. All the relevant news that I need to consume, reaches me via my paid subscriptions and Twitter / Insta. And sometimes, from what friends want me to read.

Prachi (also there in the Myanmar Vlog), shared with me a link to this fab comic that explains “benevolent sexism”. I think everyone should check it out (even though it’s a bit of a struggle to read the font-size on the phone; letting you know in advance).

Now that we are on the topic of sexism, let me also touch upon another feminist topic. Some of you may be aware of the Samyuktha Hegde fiasco that happened in a park in Bangalore on Friday. If you are not sure what happened, this NewsMinute article does a good job of summing it up (also has the embedded IGTV video of Samyuktha – which is how I came to know about the incident first).

At the heart of the fiasco is the notion of moral policing. This reminded me of my first viral 3MinuteStory – “Because Rape Is Not Always About Sex”. I had made it six yeas ago, in Bangalore. It has over 1 million views (60% of which were achieved in the first week of the video being published, if my memory serves me right).

This 3MS is more about gender policing than moral policing but I am pretty sure the point made by the girls in the video remains as valid today, as it was then.

That will be all for this Sunday’s newsletter. If you have been liking what I put together for you every Sunday, do ask your friends who you think may like it as much (or more), to subscribe? Here is the subscription link.

Cyao.

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Vatsap? 2020 Aug 30 Newsletter

Made a silly but fun video this week where Princy and I recreate an old photo.

If what you want to watch is a more insightful / meaningful video, then below is a 1 minuter that I created for IIT Madras last year (published only this week).

It was good to be back to my own department to shoot this. I do have a Behind the Scenes (BTS) video too, on my YT channel.

Talking about BTS, the below on the making of Forest Gump made me pretty nostalgic. Tom Hanks was so young back then. I wonder how Aamir’s Khan’s remake is going to be like! Also, is it only me who sees a physical similarity between Aamir and Hanks? Please tell me no.

Moving on from videos – this week I also curated an awesome reading-list (books), if that’s your thing.

I basically asked my FB/insta family to recommend one “perspective-altering” book – that they think would totally change the way I look at things. The response was phenomenal and I now have a brilliant reading list. Have something more that you think should definitely be added to this list? Sure, drop me a reply – will add.

Also, if you are more into podcasts / newsletters / newspapers kind of stuff, Chuck has curated something useful. You can check it out too.

LINDA PROBLEM AND THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE CREAMY LAYER

Thinking Fast & Slow (TFS) is one of the fascinating books in my list. I borrow an example from the book – the Linda problem – to illustrate something that can be used to analyse the Sushant Singh Rajput media trial.

In my list, I placed TFS under a category titled “why the world is the way it is / why we act the way we do”. Another blog that I wrote this week, falls kind of under the same theme. It’s titled “Meritocracy, Dalits, the Supreme Court and the curious case of the creamy layer”. I think it’s pretty insightful. But you tell me. If you are a Dalit person yourself, I would be grateful if you could help me see a perspective that I may have been missed from my analysis.

Oh, and I drew something too…

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What more can I draw?

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Just when I was thinking, what mor could I draw, a parody music video went viral and I got inspired to create a new t-shirt design based on that. Yes, this is something that I do as well!

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What's cooking?

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I myself have created parody music videos in the past; let’s see when mine goes viral, if ever! By the way, if you saw the “Rasode me kaun tha” video, you will love the work of Yuri Wong who has been making such songs since a long time (I discovered him in April this year). Below is the video that I first saw. I am pretty sure the Rasode-me rap guy got inspired by none other than Yuri (at least he was my inspiration when I made the Modi-rap).

Before I end, I do have my weekly update on the Covid deaths projection.

For the first time, the total deaths recorded in a week (23-29 Aug) happened to be less than the total from the previous week! That’s good news!

You can read the full analysis. Stay happy, stay safe and see you next Sunday. And if you want more parody rap video, a new one on Arnab – “mujhe drugs do” is already doing the rounds.

-Amrit

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Vatsap? 2020 Aug 16 Newsletter

A lot of people put up a lot of fight for India to gain independence. We achieved a democratic setup – where we get to govern ourselves. External events like World War 2 did come in handy, sure, but all said and done, it’s great to be an independent country. 15th August will always be special for every Indian.

Democracies have their own issues though.

First, to rule you just need to win elections. And elections can be won by good marketing as Modi demonstrates (they can be lost too – like Vajpayee’s India Shining illustrated). Anyway, in the present times, marketing seems to be working really well. Anybody doubts that? It could have something to do with social media, where the way a political group can control the messaging is way more nuanced (and effective) than what Vajpayee could pull off from all those India Shining ads.

Moving ahead, how do we as citizens make sure that over-marketing by political parties (especially ruling government) doesn’t fool us? I don’t have an answer but may be if we keep questioning polices, it would keep up the pressure. Let me pick up something from what our PM said yesterday from the Red Fort.

National Digital Health Mission

Amongst other announcements made yesterday, NDHM is an important one.

Every Indian will be given a health ID (creating a health account just like say a bank account).

The health ID will contain information about medical data, prescriptions and diagnostic reports and summaries of previous discharge from hospitals.

-PM Modi, 15 Aug 2020 address to nation from the Red Fort

It’s obvious that the stated objective of “efficiency and transparency in healthcare services” is indeed achievable with this sort of Aadhaar Card equivalent for health records. This week, I will probably dig a bit deeper into this. But I just want to point out a big issue that needs to be resolved before any work on NDHM progresses – that of data privacy laws.

India still does not have a personal-data protection law in place.

It is high time we have that. Back in May, I had created an insightful two part analysis on whether privacy concerns are over-rated or they have legitimate need in society. Below is part 1.

And here is part 2. Talking about analysis, of course the updated weekly Covid death projection is out.

Almost 1,000 died yesterday. On two occasions this week, daily death toll crossed 1k. The avg daily death toll for this week was ~930 (compared to ~860 for the week before) – that’s more than four A320 aircrafts, fully loaded with passengers, crashing every day – killing everyone.

Cumulative death count stands at ~50k (which is almost double of what it was just a month back).

As per the existing trend, we will have 1 lakh total deaths by middle of Sep, to Sep-end.

Details you can read in the full blog. I’ve also revisited my forecast from June 1st week to see how true the projections stand today.

17 lakh comments

Remember my email from the middle of the week? The Govt. said it received 17 lakh comments on the draft EIA notification 2020! That’s insane. I wonder how they are ever going to go through all of that! Let’s just hope something good comes off it.

By the way, talking about environment, The Ken put together a really nice set of graphs yesterday (for a change, the link is not behind any paywall). Below is one of them.

If our percentage of forest cover is going up, we are doing good in terms of environment, right? I would guess so. But then we also have the below scenario.

Lesser the percentage of renewable energy source in the total mix, worse off the environment. Everything is a mixed bag really. Anyway, do check out the other graphs here – many nice trends to notice.

Videos from the week

We haven’t already forgotten Beirut, have we?

This week I discovered a video of a child being borne just when the explosions took place. It is such a humbling thing to watch. What a background story for the child.

Another Reuters video shows us how mothers in some countries are celebrating the birth of newborns, while still keeping them safe from the virus.

I didn’t really create anything worthwhile this week. But some of you may find something interesting to watch here: my top ten 3MinuteStories of all time. Are you sure you have seen them all? Pick any one to watch and let me know if you liked what you saw?

I did write one more blog this week.

Is Ramayana ultimately a patriarchy reinforcing story?

The blog is based less on research and more on discussions. If you have an open mind, you can read what I learnt from my take and the comments I invited on the take (on Facebook). In short, Ramayana may seem to be a patriarchal story (to some) but it’s not as simple as that.

From the non-democratic Ram-rajya days to the democratic society we live in, it has certainly been a long journey for us Indians. I started the newsletter with pointing out one issue with democracy (gamification of election-win by over-marketing). Let me point out one more issue as I end.

A democracy by definition is rule of majority. Majority can be of various types – that of religion, age, sexuality, literacy, occupation etc. Now while this is great in many ways, it also has severe implications. Morally wrong acts can always be made legal by legislature – impacting the minorities.

For this very reason, every democracy needs a Constitution that prevents the majority from going off-track. I hope moving ahead we always remember why we got independence – not just to live in a society governed by majority’s demands but also by moral obligations.

That will be all this week. Stay safe and keep it going, one week at a time. Again, if you blog too – let me know, would love to follow what you write. If you want to ask your friends to subscribe to my NL, here is the link. Will ping you next Sunday! Take care!

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Vatsap? 2020 Aug 09 Newsletter

2020 will be over in 5 more months. What a crazy year! This week I created a story structure breakdown video on a Bollywood film. If you have ever wondered how ‘stories’ work, you will like it. Even if you are a storyteller of some sort yourself, you may still enjoy my take. Should I do more of these?

My weekly update on Covid death projection is out too.

Death count (for India) as of Saturday 08 Aug 2020 stands at 42k+ and I expect it to cross 1 lakh anytime in September (as early as this month end). This week, on an avg ~860 people died per day (compared to 736 the week before).

I also read up a little on the science behind Ammonium Nitrate explosions. It was not easy. If you Google for Ammonium Nitrate, all you get are news links to the Beirut accident.

Anyway, so in a blog-post, I’ve tried explaining how even when AN is a tertiary explosive (meaning – way less sensitive than a primary explosive that can explode immediately), it still leads to such massive blasts once in a while. In short, the answer lies in the variation in acceleration of wave propagation from one explosive material to another.

Video discoveries this week

I discovered a bunch of African kids singing SRK songs – that’s just so sweet.

Anything that brings smile during such grim times, is a must watch. Play it, you will smile too – guaranteed. Even if you don’t like SRK.

And if you are by any chance into Hindi music, let me go ahead and share one more video. I found this performance mind blowing. It’s an Indian Ocean rendition of a Sneha Khanwalker song. It moved me to tears.

I have missed Sneha Khanwalker man! She is outright brilliant and I’m just so happy to see her back from her self imposed hibernation. The video above doesn’t have her performance but you can look around for that too. That’s good as well – but this Indian Ocean thing is uff – just terrific.

Books that I have been reading…

I am onto several books at the same time (some ongoing from past, others started this week itself).

Ongoing from the past:

  • The Lost Decade (TLD) by Puja Mehra – a concise summary of India’s macroeconomic policies from 2008 till 2018 (I keep jumping chapters because it’s a bit too much to read it chronologically)
  • Backstage by Montek Singh Ahluwalia – similar theme as that of TLD, just that it is from a single person’s POV which also makes it much easier to read (compared to TLD). But as one may expect, there definitely are many overlaps between insights from TLD and Backstage. This is fine with me though – I am anyway reading these two in parallel. But if you have already read TLD, then you may find Backstage a bit redundant (a lot actually – if economics is your focus area).
  • The Penguin History of Modern China by Jon Fenby – it’s just a never ending book. I’ve reached the beginning of 1900 now and Kindle tells me I’ve finished reading just 13% of the book so far. The history in the book begins from 1850. Long road ahead!

Sarted this week:

  • Overdraft by Urjit Patel – it’s a short but technical read. All it basically says is that Govt. banks suck and they should do a bunch of things (all starting with R) to become good. This week I will probably try summarizing the key learnings from the book – anybody excited about that?
  • My Country My Life by L. K. Advani – I have had this thick book since a long time. While ordering, I had not imagined it was going to be this thick! Anyway so I never read it. Till this week. With all the Ayodhya tamasha going on, I was like let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth. I don’t think I am going to read everything though. I will just read few things here and there. And then put it back in the shelf. Did you know that Advani would turn 100 in only 7 more years? Not kidding – Google kar lo.
  • Republic of Religion by Abhinav Chandrachud – it’s a short read – six crisp chapters. This one too had been lying around since quite some time. In the book, Abhinav explains how the secular nature of India was put in place by Britishers (much before the revolt of 1857) at a time when in Britain itself, the Govt. was not secular.

“For much of the 19th century, a person who merely denied the truth of Christianity in general or of the existence of God in England could find himself behind bars for committing blasphemy”.

Abhinav Chandrachud, Republic of Religion

I had ordered this book after randomly stumbling upon a Youtube video of Abhinav analyzing CAA.

Of the six chapters in Republic of Religion, one is dedicated to ‘Temple and State’ – that’s the one I am going to finish reading first.

By the way if learning more about Indian macroeconomics interests you, Puja Mehra (the author of TLD) has recently started an insightful series of podcasts.

The latest one has an interview with Rathin Roy who very nicely explains the brief history of Indian macro-economy (if you have 25 minutes and you aren’t already an expert, it’s a really useful / insightful listen).

The above video will directly play from the point where the interview begins (the part before that, where Puja gives her monologue is a bit dry; also if you are subscribed to The Economist, you already know what she is talking about in her intro).

That will be all for this week. Recommend me something to read if you want to? Have a great week. Stay safe. Create something new. And I will get back to you next Sunday. The link to subscribe to the newsletter is here, if you need it for some reason.

Cyao.

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Vatsap? 2020 Aug 02 Newsletter

Belated Eid mubarak to those who celebrate it. This week was interesting. Modiji made a claim – India is doing better than many other countries in managing this whole Covid situation. My instinctive reaction was – what is he smoking? But then I tried to analyze. You may be surprised by what I found. Check out this VATSANALYSIS video that I made.

If you don’t want to watch the video, you can also read the same analysis here. Verdict – India is doing average and when you are doing average, you can always claim that you are doing better than many!

By the way, if you are new to my VATSANALYSIS, here is the Youtube link to watch all the 8 episodes. First one came out in Oct 2018.

My weekly Covid death projection is out too. This week the total deaths grew by just a little over 1% by the way (from last week), while total new cases grew by 20%! I wonder if this reflects the reality or with time, the hospitals have just become better at hiding death numbers! The total death toll stands at 36k+ as of yesterday and as per my forecast we would cross 1 lakh deaths anytime in September.

If this whole Covid situation is making you a bit gloomy, here is a short news byte to cheer you up!

Book of the week

I received my copy of Overdraft this Saturday. The book was published last week. Here is an article on what to expect from this book. For those who may not know, Urjit Patel was the RBI Governor who succeeded Rajan but resigned before the end of his term.

Various innovative “smoke-and-mirrors” schemes had been hatched, Patel has said. In 2019, government-owned LIC and State Bank of India (SBI) were directed by the Finance Ministry to “pony up” Rs 15,000 crore for a fund to provide financing to already over-leveraged, problematic real estate projects that were ‘close to completion’.

The Indian Express, 25 Jul 2020 – on Urjit Patel’s Overdraft

Video of the week

Saw this super cool video.

I have no idea how music gets produced from the hair-dryer thing that they have (or is it some bar-code reader)? But whatever it is, it’s just so cool! If I were into EDM, I would have had an orgasm! If anyone has any fundays on how this works, do email me.

Talking about emails, I have this feeling you already saw the below exchange between Mark Zukerberg and his once CFO David Ebersman. But if not, then it’s umm – something!

The last email (in the above tweet snapshot) is just so funny – almost like an afterthought (possibly advised by some lawyer kind of guy). For those who have no context, this Verge article would be a good read. Or may be just check out the below video.

Heard of the Cargo cult?

This week, I discovered a new concept – the Cargo cult. Do read the linked blog-post if the term fascinates you; it’s a weird sad intriguing story that references to WWII and primitive islands. It’s just outright absurd.

Before I sign off, one last thing – it is only for storytelling nerds though. I discovered this one and a half hours long brilliant video on why some movies have amazing endings. The narrator is the writer of this super cute movie – little Miss Sunshine. If you haven’t seen it, do watch – it’s cute and funny (the movie I mean). Watching the ‘explanatory’ video has inspired me to look at some Bollywood movies from a new storytelling lens. I will probably make a video this week on how the ‘story-structure’ for some of these films works (have already taken notes for Gully Boy and 3 Idiots). Anyone looking forward to that?

If you want to ask some of your friends to subscribe to my newsletter, you can share this link with them.

Also, if you are into blogging yourself – do email me your blog-site and I will subscribe. I use Feedly.

That’s it. Bye for now. Will come back next Sunday. Have a great Sunday and then a great week and then a great Saturday. Stay safe.

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Vatsap? 2020 Jul 26 Newsletter

There is only one way to start this week’s newsletter – by telling you a joke.

Since May, I have been looking at Covid deaths data and doing some basic forecasting. As per my latest forecast, we will start seeing 1,000 avg daily (reported) deaths in a week or two (this week 720+ died on an avg per day, reportedly) and by early Sept, total reported death toll will cross 1 lakh (31k+ have died so far – again – reportedly).

Yesterday was my birthday by the way. You can still wish me! Belated than never as they say!

So this week, I finally finished editing a new 3MS. It’s on a day in the life of a DJ.

I had shot it last year. With this, now I have completed three stories in my Being an artist (BAA) series.

I am looking forward to documenting more artists – want BAA to represent as much variety as possible, in terms of art-form, gender, experience etc. The idea is to put together enough videos so that when a child, especially from class IXth to XIIths sees them, they realize that being an artist is not as far-fetched a life choice as their parents / teachers / acquaintances typically make it look like.

Most artists are freelancers and talking about that, my advice this week on surviving the pandemic as a freelancer, became my most liked or shared post on Instagram ever.

BREATHE. SURVIVE. CREATE.

I guess many freelancers could relate to what I had to say (some even pinged me to let me know my words helped them). The strategy that I’ve preached, has definitely worked for me.

One of my early admirers – who like literally found me via this blog over a decade ago – asked me if there was a way for him to contribute towards my existence as an artist. I pointed him to my Patreon page and with him joining the list, I now have 3 patreons who support me every month! Yay!

If you are new to the concept of Patreon: watch this short video made by its CEO.

In short, if you are someone who has a decent source of income, and there are certain artists whose work you admire, you can offer to pay them a fix amount of money every month (with the freedom to stop the payment whenever you feel like). This way your loved artists will not have to keep looking for ways to make money from their art (at least when enough number of patreons put together a decent monthly inflow for the artist).

It’s almost like subscribing to a paid magazine except here, the magazine is typically free for all. What I create is for everyone to consume. With three patreons, I make USD 36 every month now. At this rate, with just 300 patreons I would be able to make USD 3,600 per month (INR 2.7 lakh per month). What happens when I reach there? I can stop doing all commercial work and only create work that I feel the world needs. See the beauty?

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

I created my first podcast this week. In here, I explore what explains China’s behavior towards India lately (have also blogged about it). What does China have to gain from this? There are essentially three theories that exist:

  1. The theory of unity – by creating common enemies (India, US etc.) the Chinese Communist Part (CCP) can unite its citizens who otherwise are likely to start civil protests in the country (as the economy falters)
  2. The theory of message – China wants to give India a message that it is the big boss; it is agitated with the infra development along the border that India has been undertaking since some time.
  3. The Middle Kingdom theory – Xi Jinping probably believes that the time for China to become the global leader (akin to the days of Middle Kingdom) has now come and there is no point in pretending to be nice anymore.

A reader pinged to share few additional reasons that explain China’s behaviour.

If you read my blog, I have also linked few books on China that I’ve been reading off late.

Video of the week – Camera-vala beetle

And before I end, leaving you with some gems from the “I have a joke” series trending on twitter this week (no idea why)!

Ok enough I guess. That’s pretty much for this newsletter. If you would want to ask your friends to subscribe to me – you can send them this link.

Saw my DJ video-story? Like the BAA concept? Drop me a reply on email na. Just don’t tell me any more jokes! 🙂

-Amrit