60 Days of Laughter !!!

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 Syama works with Evam as a project executive and does open mics along with her masters in economics. She is not close to mastering either of it :P


I joined college for my masters. I was really bored and I couldn’t sleep in class as I would get caught! So I started writing about how bad my life was which later on became my first material for my standup. Yes I have been doing open mics and a few shows (ok only 3 shows in Bay 146). When I started, I watched videos of a few comics like Karthik Kumar, Aravind SA, Amit Tandon, Sapan verma etc. At that time we did not have many open mic-ers and more importantly many women open mic-ers. But in the last two months there has been a great increase in numbers within the open mic community and the number of girls coming up on stage and trying stand-up is also increasing. Yayyy to that! Girl power!!! Tracking the videos released in the last two months by comics like Manoj Mento, Ahmed Shariff, Deepu, Kritarth Srinivasan, Rahul Subramanian has been a fab learning for me and I thought I will share some laughter by collating all of it in my post!!

Check out the videos

Rahul Subramanian – India and Pakistan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4x6qSuFovI

Aditi Mittal – Bra Shopping
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fqiwwGOynQ

Kritarth Srinivasan – Indian History Gone wrong
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEUndlmGKuI

Karthik Kumar – India head bob Explained !
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25fyx8a3l9w

Kenny Sebastian – Indian Americans white people problems
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-SfWzSxsRI

Sahil Shah – Mothers in India
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SI60DgI1Afc

Vikramjit Singh – The Indian Way: Weird Toilet Etiquette
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj939LtOb7A

Deepu – On being Telugu
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzzf88w1qbw

Varun Thakur – Indian Moms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhjKBrl6rYI

Amit Tandon – Five start hotel experience
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGvQsnq-Lok

Jeeveshu Ahluwalia – Being Punjabi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqRmw-gZzNo

Praveen Kumar – Unforgettable experience in a resort
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t_njCECmMw&spfreload=10

Alexander Babu – American Super President
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAO_xByFsZk

Vipul Goyal – Solving Pakistan after surgical Strikes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAO_xByFsZk

Ahmed Shariff – Censorship in Saudi Arabia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMI8KZ0B8OI

Manoj Mento – Whatsapp
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nummuQdPtRc

Kautuk Srivatsava – Stages of Drinking
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkLPIQNBW0A

Naveen Richard – The problem with predictive text
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2AwuHs8eTw

Zakir Khan – Winter experience in Delhi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxvJw1vDnZ4

Karunesh Talwar – Parents
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwNMTsZCaKI

Abhijit Ganguly – National Anthem Controversy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f89-nXQ15wg

Atul Khatri – Indians travelling to America
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1III07Eb1VM&t=6s

Angad Singh Ranyal- The Scared Punjabi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0_S9rL4SbQ

Here you go people! Have fun! Keep Laughing!

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How to talk to children? – Part 1

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Do you think kids are annoying? John Pradeep,the academic dean of Happy Cow has a take on it.

 

 

 

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Orthodoxically Me – So Far!

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Praveen Kumar is a Bangalore based stand up comedian who has been voted as one of the top 10 stand up comedians by TOI in 2011 and by CNN IBN in 2014. He has performed around 950 shows in over 17 cities in India and beyond. He also has been featured in the nomination list of Forbes Top 100 celebrities in 2014 and in 2015. He is the only clean comedian in India.


When I launched Orthodoxically Me in association with Evam Standup Tamasha on September 4th this year, I was damn excited and also little worried on how the audience will perceive it. Now after 10 runs of it in about 5 cities and 3 standing ovations, I am not only relieved but also even more excited to do more runs of this in different cities.

For these 10 shows I have worked with multiple comics in different cities, both upcoming and pros. I would like to thank everyone who hosted the show, did an opening act and most importantly, believing in me & my product and produced the show. The plan is to do more live shows of this for the next 3-4 months at least. As of now along with the home grounds Bangalore and Chennai, this show will be performed in Hyderabad(again), Cochin, Mumbai (again), Pondicherry, Coimbatore and probably in Goa and Pune as well. If things work out well I would be doing this in Delhi (again) and in Gurgaon too.

Every outing of this show had a new learning for me. The best learning was from Chennai Savera show where Karthik Kumar (KK) saw the show and gave me great feedback and from then, Orthodoxically Me has turned into something even more special, even more close to my heart and even more exciting to perform.

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So now I am running at the halfway mark of this tireless marathon called “Orthodoxically Me”, I would like to thank each and every individual who came to this show, laughed, applauded, gave feedback and supported me. This really means a ton to me and I will keep working towards entertaining you with live shows.

Special thanks to Rabhinder and Vasanth from Evam for working really hard behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of “Orthodoxically Me” not only in home grounds but also out of our comfort grounds (zones) as well.

Lastly, if you are reading this and have seen this show and have liked it, please let your friends know about this so they can also watch the show.

Thank you,
Yours Orthodoxically,

Praveen Kumar

 

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How to QUIT your job and be happy!!

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Alex is a standup comedian and an actor. Besides this, he has strong interests in Tamil, Music and Yoga. In this article, he writes about how his last two years were. A Self-appraisal!


November is an important month. Two years ago, on this month, I left my 15-year long corporate career, in pursuit of happiness. I don’t mean to put down my corporate job. Neither do I under-appreciate my past. It’s just it took 15 years to get the clarity that I should do something else to enjoy life better. Stuff takes time, you know. As November brings my second year to a closure, it is my annual performance review time. As in the corporate world,  I am starting with a self-review now.

Last November, the review was easy. All I had to tell myself was ”Hey..it’s just been one year. It’s too soon to judge anything. Let’s carry on what we are doing”.  But I can’t say that for second year. End of second year is something else. Back in my Amazon days, finishing two years was something, for any employee. It triggers a discussion with the manager. As a general rule, you are expected to move up the ladder every two to four years. By the end of two years, you are expected to show some brightness, some sign of shine towards top right. If the bulb is not glowing yet, may be you are slower.. well nothing wrong about it…may be this job is too fast for you..may be you should find something else (stand up comedy, yoga etc) where you will enjoy better, hence working hard will be easier.

OK, enough of beating around the bush, answering the big question: Where am I after two years?  Before that, the first question: what was my goal, to start with. My wife and I had to save for the no-income or low-income period before I quit. At my usual optimism, I said, “In one to one and a half  years, we will break even”. My wife is a perfect manager. She took the bigger number 1.5, doubled it and said “Okay,  it’s three years then. You quit after we save money for three years”.   Now after two years, we are together meeting 70% of our expenses. Rest is still coming from the savings. (please note the ‘we’ there. it’s all teamwork, you know :) ). So, the answer to the big question, where am I after two years: At 70%.  70 is a good score, come on. Round of applause please!

Now, let me reflect on what got me to this 70..and what will get me to 100 or beyond. A bunch of things. Let me call them my tenets. Tenets of success. Success in doing what I enjoy doing.  Hence, I am comfortable calling this article “How to quit your job and be happy”! I am guessing these tenets apply to all you my friends who are thinking of switching career or starting something new.

#TENET 1:   Figure out your process

In these two years, I worked on two Tamil plays with ‘Theatre Zero’ group. Worked with director Vinodhini Vaidyanathan. Learnt so much of acting amongst many other things. She would often use the word ‘process’.  The process includes writing, casting, giving cast the time to get into the script, trying various improvisation methods for the cast to bond,  developing the characters, doing run throughs, reviewing, revising etc. Good long list. You are right, stuff takes time. You need to have loads of balance and stamina. But the beauty is, if you are truly passionate, you will be happy doing it and you won’t feel the fatigue. Even if there are things that make you uncomfortable, you will do your bit to fix. There may still be many things that are out of your control. Thanks to your passion, you will know how to be focused on what you set out to do.

Developing this process or routine for yourself is important. So, like in the theatre, as my director would say before the show time: ‘Nothing to worry guys. The process would take care of itself. Just go there and enjoy’. If you put your heads down and follow your process, it should bring the yields. Your process should look rock solid and you should follow that process.

I met director Karu Palaniappan once. I told him that I want to be an actor. He asked ‘what do you do now?’. I work in IT. He then said ‘If you want to be swimmer, you can’t be playing cricket all day, no?’. That summed it up. Create your daily/weekly routine where you are working rigorously on the core things you are passionate about. If you are a comic, you write almost every day or every other day. Get on stage as many times as possible per week. Some of the coolest comics in the country have the goal of getting on stage everyday. If you are an actor, you can’t wait for a good role to get to you. You face the camera everyday, act, review, iterate.  And when you get your role, you shine through.

Recently, a few of my actor friends were discussing about ‘Aandavan Kattalai’, a Tamil movie. Some of my theatre friends including director Vinodhini are in the cast. We were discussing how some of them have gotten seemingly simpler roles, but they have done a stellar job by bringing in depth within the limits of the characters. Check out this movie, watch out for Vinodhini’s performance, that CBI cop amongst a few others. The lesson is to keep at your process and get your craft shining. So when you get even a slight opportunity, your process will take care of things.

#TENET 2: Go frugal

When you quit, you will obviously enter into a no-come period. Then as things build, you enter the low-income period. The plan is to hit the break-even and then high-income period as soon as possible. Going frugal helps to get through the no-income/low-income periods with ease. Get frugal in style. We all know the perils of consumerism. So, going frugal is not considered stingy anymore. Feel cool about your frugality. You are consuming less. Be happy to do this little fasting in order to pursue your passion. It’s a small price to pay. Figure out how far you can scale down. I am forever comfortable driving my Alto 800. I am at peace with doing zero foreign vacations. If the back of my laptop does not show the Apple logo, I am not bothered. If I don’t use iPhone 7, I will still sleep happy. Be convinced about living more with less.

#TENET 3: Take team along

You need to take your team, your family along. In this age and time,  people seem to understand the value of spending time together building good relationships rather than running after material stuff. Life needs quality AND quantity on the time first before materials. If you are spending good time with your loved ones, they will also be with you to make right frugal choices. Getting into some Yoga and spirituality brings in good conditioning. Don’t rush it, I would say. Your team needs time too!

#TENET 4:   Save up for 3 years before you quit

I think they are right in the corporate world about that two years period. If you are passionate about what you’re doing, two years is a good time for you to show some sparks.  If you are doing something with your heart and soul, it should start shining a bit in two years. You should see the graph trending up after one year. Keep another year or two for breaking even or getting to surplus.  Stuff takes time. Gestation period can’t be fastened. One can argue that you have to get your craft all perfectly ready and then quit. Well, that puts a lot of pressure, man. You need time to get it ready.

#TENET 5:  Brand yourself

I strongly believe that your work should be speak for yourself. However, you have the responsibility to take your work to the place where it can speak. Following your process to get your craft right is one thing. The other side is to take it to the right place so your customers/audience can see. We have an young man in my apartments who cleans all the cars every other day. Every-time he cleans the car he will leave the wiper blades in the upright position. On the days he has cleaned the car, as you enter your car, you can’t avoid but notice the wiper blades standing up. Yes, you will remember that the guy is doing his job. Hence, you will never tell him at the end of the month, ‘Boss, are you really cleaning my car? I have never seen you doing it”.  Well, the wiper blades idea is too much. I don’t like it. I often sit inside my car and then notice the vipers, then I get up, go to the front, put them down, come back.. Uhhh…I am like “Dude, I get it. You are working. Please don’t do this”. May be he should figure out nicer ways like keeping flowers for example. :)

#TENET 6:  Fall in love with square one

When you are trying out new things, especially in art, you are often at square one. Every time, I sit down to write a set on a new topic, it is a blank sheet. Uncertainty stares at you. You are at square one. Every time you enter an audition room, it is square one. But embrace square one with love and positivity. May be some master piece might come out of that new topic. Who knows. Stick to your process and let the big force work through you :)

#TENET 7:  Go to Satsangs

In yoga/spirituality, they often talk about satsangs. Satsang is meeting like minded people to share and do things together. When you do the prayers together, there is a great vibe. In bhajans, though a good half the people sing out of pitch (despite the tunes being simple), it feels great!  It must be  because of the intentions aligning so well. Have your weekly satsangs for your work. It should be part of your process. Standup comedy has open mics. Have your mentors. Have your friendly fraternity to give you feedback. If you are not getting any feedback, you start it. It then starts flowing.

#TENET 8:  Compete compete compete

Yes, compete but only with yourself. A lot of great men have said this enough. No two leaves are ever the same, they say. Uniqueness is built in by default in nature. Don’t try hard to be unique. Look into yourself and find who you are and bring that out. Competing with others and copying others just ruins the fun. There is so much out there to explore and so much of uniqueness inside to discover.

Yes, I too notice the descriptions getting shorter as I go onto more tenets. I guess we will stop here, then :). Thanks for your time. We will catch up next November for another review, hopefully with 100+ score. :). What?, okay okay.. that’s the goal. I commit.

Alexander Babu Arulanthu

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The Return of the Bak-Bak Tree

Well, we have started work and well into creation on evam’s next play :) It is a children’s production set to Premiere in Chennai and tour South India over the next few months. For the second time, we have partnered with the wonderful team at Karadi Rhymes. We created and performed ‘Once upon a Bak-Bak tree’ in 2014, picking up the famous Karadi Tales stories of ‘Monkey and the Lion’ and ‘Monkey and the Crocodile’.

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This time around, Bak-Bak, the talking tree returns with two different stories, mixed in with music, sing-alongs and fun characters. This edition is being directed by Amit Singh, who has worked with us on numerous occasions and we are super excited to have him helm the project. Also, here is the cast and musicians:

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More info on shows, rehearsal pictures and other sneak peaks very soon :)

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Theatricals 2016

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‘All the world’s a stage and men and women are merely players ’, is the mantra that keeps the Stella Players going. Recently evam collaborated with Stella Maris College to bring back the inter-collegiate theatre festival, Theatricals 2016, with a bang. We kicked off the Fest by reaching out to all colleges in hopes of finding the perfect scripts by the best Wordsmiths in the State.

Once Theatricals was announced, there was a tremendous response of Diverse Scripts, which were initially shortlisted for the Semi-finals. The shortlisted contestants showcased their play along with the teaser and a poster and the Judges selected the teams contesting for finals.The finals was held on the 9th of October at Alliance Française. The Stella Players put up a host performance as well. Theatricals was a platform for the young, budding artists to showcase their talent and passion for theatre.

The day of the finals was filled with a mix of emotions, nervousness, excitement and zeal. Right from the get-go the teams were pumped up, and kept their spirits alive till the final show at 7:30 pm. It truly goes to show the kind of commitment they have to theatre, to be at the venue from 7 am on a Sunday! We had a total of 7 judges coming to critique the performance. The plays collectively got a positive response from the audience and was received with great appreciation. The diversity of scripts really kept the audience engaged, from introspective to comedies to parodies! It was crucial that there be coordination between evam and The Stella Players so that the show went on without any hitches. In the end,show day went on smoothly, with everything running like a well oiled machine.

This was a great opportunity for us as students to learn about the know hows of how to run a live show and we thoroughly enjoyed the entire process. From ticketing, marketing, to running the show day, managing the team, helping out in the backstage. everything was a learning platform for us.  From us approaching evam, to convincing our college to host the event, to inviting over 30 colleges its all been a roller coaster ride and worth the effort.

“A character on stage is the product of a directors instructions, actor’s interpretation, costume designers creativity, script writers instinct, lighting crew’s talent and the make up artists soul. They are not born for the stage; they are created for it”
So thank you to all the participants and the volunteers for putting up such a great show and making Theatricals 2016 a success.
Hopefully the theatre fever catches on and it will be an event twice as big in the coming year!

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Big Hero 6!

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John is the Dean of Happy Cow, the children’s education division of Evam. In this blog he is talking about how the idea of Big Hero 6 came up!


One of our relatives came home this holiday season and we went to a famous water theme park in Chennai. They had two sons- 12 year old and 15 year old. The park has a criteria where anyone below 13 was a child and anyone above 13 was an adult. Both of them were frustrated and we had to wind the trip up and go to a different place because none of the rides were of their interest. Children’s rides were too silly for a 12 year old and adult’s rides were too complex for a 14 year old. Our relatives kept cribbing on how bad the boys are brought up and their own parents were embarrassed to even be there.

This kept me wondering why they did what they did. A lot of instances came to my mind on what exactly happens in that age. They start growing from all the child plays, but they don’t step into adulthood; they have their peers who are also in the same dilemma but keep an eye out for what their friends are doing and involuntarily succumb to the peer pressure. They are being advised on whatever they do because the adult community thinks this is the time when they get exposed to all the ‘evils’ of the world and they are right. They don’t want to be advised either. Anyone hates sentences that start with words that will advance into advises. So what do we ‘Teach’ them? Do we teach them at all? When it comes to art, I would say not.

This is the age when they want to explore and experiment on new things. They want to do it all themselves and they don’t want any adult interference. That is where this thought of Big Hero 6 dawned from. It lets them do what they want and figure what they want to do with it. It invites them to come and experience the art form. What they learn out of them is evolved from them. When I think of a puppet and develop its characteristics, I am automatically thinking empathy. When I am standing in the shadow and taking a posture to make people understand what I intend to tell them, I am learning the nuances of body language for better communication. When I am creating a story from nowhere and telling that story through an art or song or a performance on stage, I am getting better at public speaking. They are not taught. They are experimenting and coming up with their own. The art form fuels their need to do new things. Leadership learnings fall into place automatically as they experiment the art form. But hey, if they are part of the workshop interested in the art or leadership, now they have a new peer. A peer who doesn’t have a pressure because they all share a common interest.

John Pradeep

161001 Big Hero

For more details about the upcoming workshops, do call us @ 9840236367 :)

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