My experience with the E.Q tour!

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Pavithra Ramaswamy – COO of evam entertainment, an avid traveller, official party planner, unofficial matchmaker and an occasional sabbatical taker.


Recently I toured Delhi & Bangalore with the evam lab & Sideways team for our play-shop solution ‘It’s not U, it’s Ë.Q’. It was International Woman’s day on the 8th of March with #BeBoldforChange as the main theme and most of the corporates had organised a series of workshops & presentations around this time. The experience – right from prep till delivery was absolutely fabulous for me and this blog has me talking about what it was like interacting with these audiences & clients and of course, the team.

Prep started a few weeks back when our Director Sunil came to me seeking my help with producing these shows – my job mainly revolved around client servicing and logistics management for five clients delivering 6 shows across 3 days. It meant multiple calls – explaining to them what we needed in terms of technicals & stage setup on show days, handling travel boarding and lodging for a team of 6, ensuring they were comfortable & well taken care of during this gruelling schedule and above all reassuring the clients that the shows would be fabulous.

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Interestingly for all these shows, the corporate sent out a common mail inviting the employees to come attend this event which meant it was purely voluntary – the employees had to take time off from their work and come, which made the HR very nervous about the turnout and that’s where BRAND evam helped. We walked around the various floors within the premises, did cute cubicle previews & canteen gigs with our guitar and cajon, (nukkad natak types) giving them a flavor of how fun the act was going to be and once this was done & the setup & sound check was done – we waited for people to turn up and they did in large numbers ☺.

What is E.Q and what really worked for them? Some of the common issues that almost all HR were addressing using this forum were, the poor ratio of women to men in Leadership roles, issues of how employees are seen by their colleagues when they were inducted because of the diversity and inclusion mandates, inhibitions of people within a workplace, dealing with work pressure from superiors, attrition etc. The gender ratio used to be low before and there could have been a number of reasons for it, like the nature of business the corporates were in (Manufacturing or Tobacco or Alcohol industry), stage of life the woman was in, the corporate policies of the company etc. The good news was that all of these organisations were trying to rework their structure to give diversity and inclusion a lot more focus and more importantly to ensure that the process was done right with the right approach – and our play shop solution E.Q precisely spoke about how to do that. The 60-minute act (with a lot of fun music dance & singing) talked about gender stereotyping, addressed common issues faced by men and women in their career path and spoke about how emotional quotient can be used to make better decisions at the workplace. 45 minutes into our ACT, there was a small forum theatre segment between an employee (woman) and the boss (man) – and the audiences were given an opportunity to pause the play whenever they found something wrong with the way the conversation was going and name the issue out loud as a red flag – and that helped them realize what everyday conversations could be at office if one’s emotional quotient was used properly & wisely. The teams organizing the show were ecstatic with the response because everything said felt real & relevant and more importantly came from one of their own – which meant the agenda set was fully served.

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So what was it like for me? The standing ovations & the participation we had were heartfelt – felt like pure redemption. The sense of having made a difference using an art form and knowing that what we are and what we do is truly valuable and important. This gave me reassurance that we were on the right track and could only grow from here on.
From late night flights, 3 hours of sleep every day, to canteen food to back-to-back performances and quick wraps – it was a lot of hard work – but the joy of performing to over 2000 people across 3 days made it all worth it. For me it was also fascinating seeing this ensemble come together, co-create, own & deliver the show with full earnestness. I came back overwhelmed with pride.

Pavithra Ramaswamy

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A Promise to evam!

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Sowpernika, a 24 year old chocolate dependent life-form. Also a right-handed chubster who cannot spell ‘Chiaroscuro’ backwards and a massive foodie!

‘Entourage’ is one of the best series ever! Period. For people who do not know anything about the show, it’s based on the life incidents of Mark Wahlberg. This must be a bizarre start, but that’s where everything started for me- ‘ENTOURAGE’.

School- Engineering- IT consumed the first 22 years of my life. I knew IT was not for me right when I got campus recruited. But just like any other 20 year old, I preferred listening to my mother than following my dreams. I started watching umpteen number of shows just to get away from the boring reality. So, this is where Entourage comes into play. Unlike the 1000 other shows I watched, Entourage left an impact. It made artist management look massively cool; it made the role of a producer look even cooler! That’s when I decided to become one, the coolest one by the time I was 30!

Just when I was thinking of how to go about it, I came across evam’s post and decided to apply. 3 months at evam and I must say, IT AIN’T EASY! ☺ As cool as it seems, this job requires so much dedication, hard work and constant drive from within. I always thought I would kill at anything I do, but evam proved me wrong. It’s teaching me what life is, what reality is. It is not easy to be a producer or manage artists- it takes immense dedication and perseverance. That’s the reason I like it here, it has made me realise how tough it is to actually achieve your dreams. I now know that I cannot survive unless I’m constantly trying to be better and wiser.

I feel I have started at the right place- Thank you, evam! If not for the opportunity, I would still be coding, cribbing and repeat! I promise to keep learning and keep getting better every single day. Finally, I promise to make you guys feel super proud, the day when you guys feel we raised a kick-ass PRODUCER! ☺

Sincerely,
Chops (Oh, that’s how I’m addressed here! ☺)

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Jokes, MIC and Ladylike!

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I became one with Evam in June last year and it has been a wonderful journey since, having performed in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and internationally in Australia, I thought I’d share a little about my choice of doing comedy on Women’s day.

My earliest memory of school was the teacher asking us to shut up. Quite literally, the words used were, “Class, silence”, “Shusshhh” making one stand on the bench for talking, reference to class being a fish market etc, even when the teachers were not really teaching/ lecturing. I did not quite understand, why we had to keep quiet. Wasn’t the world outside so noisy? How can we fit?

Having working parents and a sister much older meant I spent a lot of time being home alone. Most of my days were spent with the toys. (Playing outside was not an option because, “Could I lock the house safely and not lose the keys while playing?” and I wasn’t the most extrovert type friendly person ever.)
My childhood was filled with toys, I had a tub full of them! All of them came out, we had fun in silence and they went back into the tub by the end of the day, just like my thoughts did.

I was tired of growing silent, in my house due to the situation and in my class due to compulsion. More time was spent in silence. My friend making skills were not great. I was a shy person. I barely friends back then, kidding, I barely have friends now. Kidding, I’m working on it and it’s getting better. I wanted to talk though, the years and years of silence played a loud chaos in my head. I was trying to find a more verbose medium to express myself. To talk and not be shushed. I also learnt Bharatnatyam for more than a decade, it is a beautiful dance form where everyone but I get to make noise through the mouth, I was asked not to mouth the songs I was dancing to as it would not look great on stage. Agreed, but I was doing that everywhere already and I was not prepared to do it again. I tried my hand (and leg and rest of the body) at theatre in college. It was fun in the beginning, till I heard the “shushes” again, with the “stick to the dialogues in the script”, “stick to the character, not you!”, theatre is great, it is just not for me, I could not afford to hear a shush. Same goes with my modelling stint, my face but someone else’s line, God! this was getting tiring. When was my turn to speak my words?

Comedy came to my rescue. I could speak, my story, my thoughts.

I (still) am terrified of the stage, it is a place where I put myself out there, at the risk of saying things that has never been said before ( we got to be original no?), at the risk of introducing a bunch of strangers to my thoughts, the thoughts that never freed themselves as words. At the risk of saying too much, too different and being an outcast, but guess what? The non-stage world let me say so little, so I didn’t fit in anyway! I had nothing to lose. I agree that you can shush me here too! But this time I will shush back though, because if you had something important to say, it would not have been me but you who should have dared taking the mic in your hand. I now had a mic and speakers rooting for me.

There’s also a constant question about my gender, how I could take up comedy despite being female, I could have never thought of it that way, if I’m hungry (it is an urge) I eat food ( I would not think of myself as a female who needs to eat food) I did comedy because I wanted to share, share (which is an urge too!) how I felt about things, how I saw things around me, how I kept myself entertained for so many years in all the silence my lip was forced into, i just suddenly did not think about my genitals before sharing my jokes. Besides, jokes come from the brain (or heart!) and not the genitals no? Being referred to as female comedienne makes me feel like it is some special ability. Not am I just being female, but I do comedy too and that must be treated as special!

I feel any art comes from a deep rooted suppressed expression, which is waiting to take off in any form you can give it, gender has nothing to do with it, I do not have social commentary on women’s issues, at least not yet, I don’t talk about oppression faced by all women in general, I don’t have the experience to, I want to talk about my stories, stories which are true to me and made my journey what it is today. As for other women, I hope they see in me a possibility to come out of all the “shushing” that is done onto them, wherever they are and whatever their situation maybe.

If you meet me I’ll still be the awkward silent girl struggling to make small talk, I am not a different person on stage, I am just a different person off it.

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Ctrl+S your passion! Not many have it!

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Vivek, an engineer as his degree says, a playwright and an actor as his passion dictates, is our in-house designer, here at evam now! In this blog he talks about how he is managing to not let go of his passion!


2011… My 12th standard final exams… Who will help me with my career? Experts suggested that I take arts, but… my great grandmother had engineering ideas.

To begin with, I hail from a serene locality with beautiful lakes, with gentle breeze, dogs and cows roaming around and greenery dancing to the tunes of the gentle wind. This was my typical college scene. More than the lectures, I used to hear my professors yelling “GET OUT” at me as I was the most notorious person in class. This made me an outstanding person in college. I spent most of my time organising college events and hosting them. That is where I realised I was potentially an organiser and not an engineer.

According to me, “Embarrassments make a human being epic”. Managing and performing on stage since 5th standard in school, I always had this inseparable passion towards the arts and acting, and that kept me intrigued to do something related to it. I was paid heavily at my work, but something was amiss. I wasn’t satisfied. I wasn’t being me. I wasn’t happy either. Days went by and I still hadn’t moved an inch towards my passion. I was in a state where I had to make a bold choice or give up totally. One year passed by and I couldn’t take anymore of the IT crap, which made my mind fully saturated. Frustrated, I left my job, earned the curse of my family and lost the support and trust people had on me. With no clear plans ahead, I searched for jobs in the event management domain to somehow direct my career towards my passion. Since I was holding an engineering degree, I wasn’t well received and had to face the wrath of some recruiters as I was considered over qualified and more importantly, more qualified than some of them.

Three to four months went by and the humiliation from being rejected multiple times made me drained-physically & mentally. The only thing that kept me going was my own Theatre Company. Even though there were no shows or rehearsals I used to go out with my friend and discuss new ways to improve our company. I always knew I had a good sense of design and since I was starting afresh I decided to explore life as a freelance designer, (I had read a lot about it, taught myself during my IT days) and so I started looking for clients. I was fortunate enough to get a few good clients who appreciated my work & gave me more and more opportunities to work for them. One such brand was “Sahasra Kalavriksha”, a classical dance studio that really encouraged & supported me as a designer. Feeling highly motivated,I got better at it and got to a stage to call myself a qualified designer.

I was finally satisfied with the work I was doing, but I saw my parents getting worried as they thought I was wasting my life doing useless things (they obviously didn’t understand the whole freelance bit). While their happiness was key to me, I also knew I didn’t want to leave my passion for designing and so again I started searching for jobs.

I owe a big hug to evam for understanding my potential and giving me an opportunity to pursue my passion. I’ve always been fascinated by their comedy shows in the city and that made me want to be a part of their team. I thought of approaching them earlier but the fear of getting rejected stopped me. Being a Facebook junkie (thank god for that), I happened to see their post about recruitment for an in-house designer. Hoping for a ray of sunshine I sent evam my resume and thankfully got a call for an interview. Excited and scared at the same time I went and met them, came out very surprised and trust me, I truly had become the most spiritual person on earth (more than Jaggi Vasudev). Temples and pilgrimage was my focus till I got a reply that I had finally gotten the job!!

It’s been 4 months of being a designer, I love my job and I’ve never had this much satisfaction in any of my previous firms. Thank you evam for teaching me the most important lesson of life “Follow your passion with love and dedication”.

Honestly, as a designer I would suggest that everyone Ctrl+S their passion and interests. It’ll help one grow more in life.

Vivek (a) Venkatanathan

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Summer Holidays yet Again!

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Cinthoorika heads the education division of evam. Loves travelling and thinks production is one of the best parts of theatre. She often gets ragged by 4-year-olds. But she always takes it in stride.


It’s going to be summer holidays time real soon! I am sure all the kids are looking forward to waking up late, eating all those ice-creams, not doing any homework, playing endlessly till they are called by the dads who don’t find them home on returning from office.

And I am equally sure that parents are looking for options where they make sure that the kids don’t end up sick by all the unlimited (Ice golas!) meals or end up getting tanned by the endless playing hours in the sun. That That man, That That problem.

Before the parents turn against each other or kill each other for figuring out options to keep the kids occupied, the smart ones try and find solace in Summer camps – The One Stop Solution – Safe, Simple and Fun.

However, it’s also crucial to look for options where the child is not having some mindless fun. As much as fun is important, it’s also important for them to be challenged & to learn new things!

Keeping the same in mind, the Happy Cow team has designed quick & fun modules for all the camps this summer.

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The youngest lot –”Toddlers!” – 2 to 4 years old. They have their own definition of fun – You can’t really meet that criteria per-se. But we have few tricks up our sleeves as well. They get to play with shadows, lights and sounds and at the same time learn about Shapes & Sizes (Shadow Theatre Workshop). We also have “Mom and Me” workshops for this particular age group. After all, the Mommies also need a break – perfect opportunity for them to connect with other Mums and swap stories ☺

Then comes the 5 to 8 years old. This age group is damn smart! They are getting to know about different choices, likes/dislikes, favourites etc. So they are choosy also. Keeping the same in mind, we have come up with different options. We have “Story Telling through Puppetry” – for the silent ones coupled with their love for “Art and Creativity”. They get to make their own puppets and create their own stories and we just help them with the way to tell the stories.

For the drama queens who just want to get on stage and have fun – we have “Stage Entry” – The Theatre 101. They get to learn about characterisation, voice modulations, co actor dependency et al.

And then we finally have the 9 and above age group – the confused lot! – or the age group which is best at confusing others a lot. We understand the importance of them trying out different art forms and trying out what best suits their character. We have “Leadership through Theatre” for the young leaders who simply love to take the charge or We have “Play Creation” for the teenagers who loves to spin stories. We have covered all the base!

To take part in this fun or to just get more details, get in touch with us at happycow@evam.in ☺

Cinthoorika

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Bluefeather & evam – Starts the Indian Comedy Trend in the U.K.

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eST partnered with Bluefeather studios, UK – a beautiful spirited company run by a smart, hardworking couple from India. We together did shows across Reading, Milton Keynes, Camden, Wembley, Birmingham in Nov’2017. Sandhya Anantharaman, the co-founder of Bluefeather Studios, talks about how the idea of bringing Indian Comedy trend to UK came to be.


In the last couple of years, India has been more accepting towards comedy as a serious art form and Indian comics are well received and accepted at various art forms.

Having lived in London for a decade, I have always wondered as to why we do not have a lot of Indian Comedy shows in the U.K.  We do have a few film premiers and music shows, but the Indian theatre art and stand-up comedy seems to be missing altogether. This gap seems to be only in the UK, as I have witnessed my friends from India, Singapore, Australia, United States and other places all around the world enjoying Indian shows, making me slightly jealous.

Digging in a bit, I realised this gap is purely because, very few to none have taken any initiative to organise a show! So, this is when me and my husband Suresh, decided to do something and take the first step in bringing a bit of India to the UK!

As true to the fact, the entire universe conspires in bringing together every element to make things happen, KK published a post on Facebook stating, he is looking for potential organisers for his debut show in the UK! This was the sign, a push and the right opportunity! There was no looking back.  

I still remember the golden date, 22nd of July 2016, when we first contacted KK to get a prompt response asking to send more details to Rabhinder. Four months later we organised the most successful KK’s UK tour.  It has been a lot of hard work, mostly as we have had no experience in event management, but only been die-hard fans of talented artists. This, combined with a great passion to bring Indian Theatre/Comic Art to the UK Audience.

In terms of organising, we did everything the way we would have wanted it to be from an audience perspective. The hardest thing about organising something for the first time is, you do not know what really sells and how to find your target audience. We started small, within our friend circle and friends of friends. Facebook has been our only marketing tool. Having contacted many Indian forums and groups in the first few weeks, we were reassured, people were just waiting for someone to organise something different so they can all witness good art.

Once having tested the waters, we contacted evam and made our official offer. Rabhinder and KK have been the most understanding and professional people we have ever met, and largely the reason for this successful venture.

One incident I will remember and cherish was that at the first show held in Reading. As expected, I was nervous, excited, overwhelmed and confused all at the same time. We were doing the sound check and realised we had some issues with the projector.  We had only about 5 minutes for the doors to open. I went down to the security and said “I don’t think people will anyways turn up on time but we promised to open the door at 6:30 pm, can you please wait till 6:35 and then open the door? It is 6:25 now, and we need 10 more minutes to finish our set up” What came as a surprise followed by nervousness was, the Security guy replied, “There are about 25 people waiting in queue”. Hiding behind the door and seeing people queue up for the show was unbelievable. I pinched myself to assure I was not dreaming! I went back to the stage and rushed the sound tech to wrap up as soon as possible.

We stood at the back, crying happy tears, watching 100’s of people laughing their heart out. It was a feeling of having just given birth to an amazing child that everyone loved..!!

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We are overwhelmed to know the general audience would want more Indian shows in the UK. I do think Bluefeather Studios along with evam deserve a pat on the back for introducing the Indian comedy culture in the UK, at such a large scale.

Finally, as a word of gratitude, we are very happy, thankful and content for having organised KK’s UK tour. We look forward to work with evam and other Indian artists and comics and do a lot more in the UK in the near future.

Sandhya Anantharaman

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Parenting a child who is an introvert!

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In this blog, John Pradeep, the academic dean of Happy Cow, talks about parenting an introvert child.
Children from this generation are not just extroverts. Some of them are hyper-extroverts and amongst this huge pool, I have always found at least one parent being worried about their child being an introvert. They want their child to be as outgoing and as friendly as the majority out there.
Before I begin, let me tell you I am an introvert and I know exactly what it means.
Identify if they are being shy or are an introvert:
A common misconception is that being an introvert is the same as being shy. Both introverts and extroverts can be shy by nature. Shyness is a protective shield one develops out of anxiety stemming from the fear of embarrassment. If a child loves being active physically and being in a crowded space, but doesn’t want to go to one particular football coaching, then he/she might be shy because of the fear of rejection or of being ridiculed or of embarrassment. That doesn’t make them an introvert. Understanding the difference is crucial.
If they are an introvert, they probably will do one or more of the following:
· Watch and listen before joining an activity
· Concentrate deeply if something interests them
· Enjoy time alone in their room
· Be quiet till they are asked multiple times what they are thinking or feeling
· Dislike people sitting too close to them – discomfort with proximity
· Dislike anyone coming into their space without permission – for instance coming into the room without knocking.
· Talk a lot if the topic is something they like
· Talk a lot if they are comfortable around certain people – they trust.
What you should do:
· Provide a private space at home – Let them do what they love like reading, painting, listening to music or just lying down in their space.
· Help them find or schedule their own private time – Introverts gain energy by being alone while extroverts do so by interacting with people or doing physical activity. Consciously giving them their alone time is the way to go.
· Give them time to respond – Introverts like doing things without being pushed and without any time restrictions. Give them the time they need. Also know there is no harm in asking when they would like to respond.
· Be careful while correcting them – Introverts might be quite sensitive to corrections. Get them to realize they have made the mistake – tell them subtly or ask them if they felt if it was right or wrong, but make sure they are not continuing to dwell on the thought. Give them the space to talk. Remember to tell them you love them and that everyone makes mistakes. Even you. It is Human to make mistakes.
What you should tell them:
Research a little on how an introvert’s brain works, speak to counsellors if you want to. Keep telling them from their young age that it is perfectly fine not to be part of the crowd and not take pressures of the things/people surrounding them.
Teach them to say no when they feel like saying no, but in a polite way.
Do not try to change their personality by comparing them to or putting them along with other extroverts. That will only bring down their self-esteem.
Encourage them to request for time to respond if they feel pressurised.
Tell them while they are in a group and others answer the questions faster – it is OK.
P.S: If you are still not convinced with what all that I said, I am listing down some greatest leaders who were introverts.
  • Abraham Lincoln– President of USA
  • Mahatma Gandhi-Father of our nation
  • Thomas Edison– Inventor
  • Steven Spielberg– Hollywood film director of several Oscar winning movies
  • Amitabh Bachchan– Indian Film Super star
  • Narasimha Rao, Manmohan Singh– Former Indian Prime Ministers
  • Mark Zuckerberg– Billionaire entrepreneur, founder of Facebook.com
  • Sachin Tendulkar– Need I say more?
Introverts have shined in all the fields from sports to politics to arts to inventions. All these people have one thing in common. They saw being an introvert as their strength and not weakness.
John
Academic Dean, Happy Cow
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