At a unique festival of music and arts where nearly 16 amateur and professional rock bands performed live, a joke began doing the rounds. "Finally," said someone, "we have a music festival where people don't clamour for bhangra or Daler Mehndi."
Wrapped in their woollens, nearly 600 people arrived at a sprawling farmhouse in New Delhi's Westend Greens to witness India's first Fringe Fest 2005. Brainchild of 36-year-old Ajay Jain, the three-day event was modelled on the Edinburgh fringe fest.
"Corporates have shown interest and next year we'll have it in multiple venues," promises Jain. Sponsored by Wigan & Leigh, Plan India and North Umbria University, it also showcased an exhibition of paintings and photographs by artists.
At the event, Jain also announced a blog portal. Big deal, did you say? Well, actually it might be considering that www.tcp.in will perhaps be India's first blog portal to be funded by investors.
"Our newspaper, The Campus Paper,
Though he refuses to divulge details about advertisers, sources say companies like Pepsi and Motorola will advertise on Jain's blog. In all probability, the portal will charge anywhere between 50 paise-Re 1 per click.
Jain wants to use the blog as a revenue generating model and is also setting up blogs for corporates and NGOs, among them one for Plan International, a Britain-based international development organisation that works with 1.3 million children in developing countries. Jain will focus on the NGO's
India operations. His charges for a blog start-up is anywhere between Rs 50,000-2 lakh. "It is a great PR activity for companies. We will assimilate relevant information and spruce up the interest factor among people for the NGO," says Jain. The blog is proving to be a PR tool in the US and Europe, a model Jain wants "to replicate in India".
Only if it succeeds.