Hello world. And hello fullhyd. 

This blog has been dead for god-knows-how-long but am here to resurrect it. Me thinks the era of Payne ranting, raving and writing about movies is mostly over. The new Payne will talk and write about a whole new host of topics. Some post will involve hitherto unspoken things like marketing! While most will lie in the comfortable space of nothingness.  Cool

Today, we shall talk about something interesting. It's called the Mitsubishi Cedia Sports Great Driving Challenge. Ok, I know that's a whole mouthful of big syllabled words, but I promise you it is way more simple than it sounds. Lets call it TGDC from now on. 

The concept: A couple (boy and girl wonly, no Sec 377 here) has to team up to drive across India covering 3000kms in 12 days; while they are it, they have to capture everything and post it online - blogs, photologues, photos, video (vlogs!), tweets, twitgoos...you name it!  

Selection is through voting online and by the quality of one's testimonials, blogs and photos.  

Why this is important: Because, in my opinion, this is the one reality contest that is completely linked with the way we live our lives today. Today, our lives are perpetually online; we catch up with friends by scrapping them or "posting on their wall", we celebrate birthdays by leaving tons of wishes and virtual gifts on social networking sites, we stand up in unison defending causes or fighting against some by joining fan clubs and petitioning online, we broadcast our lives 140 characters at a time on twitter, we rant/rave/cry/jump-in-joy/ponder/review everything and anything on our blogs, we build communities and earn reputation among these communities over time.... 

This contest brings all this together. The votes are not restricted to mass-mailers and spamming but by using Social Media effectively. Facebook, Orkut, Blogger, twitter and Flickr are our new SET Max and StarTV. Instead of sending smses for your favorite applicant, you're now asked by your friend or a friend of your friend, or engaged through reading a blog (like this here) or stumbling upon it. 

Gmail, Google, Facebook, Orkut and Yahoo are the common threads that bind urban India together in a sea of differences; irrespective of the type of vehicle you drive, the age-group you belong, the side of Sec 377 you fall on, the house you own, the office you go to or the people you hang out with, these are the things which are common to every urban Indian. More than getting rid of the bias that internet campaigns are for youth only, the challenge is pathbreaking the way it takes our online virtual world and relates it to something as "real" and offline as the sheer joy of driving. By using the online world to achieve something which is completely offline and by placing it all in India, the GDC takes the cake. Kudos to Experience Commerce. 

Ok, cool. So what I do now?: Obviously, I was bowled over by the concept and decided to enroll for the contest. Its been 2 weeks since my partner Namrata (from IIMI) and I have put up our application, and after leading the vote-count all this while, we stand at #3. It has been a true crash course in Social Media and people behavior over the last 2 weeks. 

We have coerced people into giving votes, we have worked nights over the route-plan - not easy cuz she's in Chennai and I'm in Pune! We've irritated our old, new and lifelong friends no end to ensure we get there. But its been worth it. I now properly know (atleast on the map!) the few parts of India am not so familiar with and I also know that even if we do not make it, I will do this 3100 odd km road-trip very soon. :)

Vote for Payne/old-timer-on-fullhyd @ The Great Driving Challenge by clicking here.

Simply: Click on 'Vote for Us' -> Go back to your mail-box ---> Open mail from TGDC team and confirm your vote!  


Current Music: Random music on the tube (Ah khushi se khud-khushi karle :-s)
Currently Reading: Pune Times (it *could* be a book!)