Probably the most exciting project we recently worked on was supporting Bill Gates’ India tour as the co-chair of his foundation. Apart from having the opportunity to meet the legendary Mr. Gates in person, the work involved tons of messaging work, briefing reporters ahead of time and ensuring we did all the leg work right to ensure a fitting turnout and importantly, the right conversation during the media briefing. It was fascinating and inspiring to hear his vision for philanthropy and for India.Germany: Can you give us a glimpse of the media landscape in India? How strong is print vs. online/social media outlets and what are the most influential media outlets in India? India: The Indian media is an over-communicated marketplace with multiple mediums and channels. In India, print media still dominates the market with a growing circulation and readership and this will continue to grow further due to the rise in literacy. Online media is fast picking up in India as well. We have a sizeable Internet population that now stands at a 150 million. We are now the second largest ‘FacebookNation’ in the world right after the US. So both, traditional and digital, continue to grow leaps and bounds translating directly into implications for marketers and communicators. Online editions of leading Indian newspapers and magazines offer rich convergence with multimedia content, features, investigative articles and thoughtful analysis. Influential media outlets in India include the Times group, HT Media Group, Express Group and Hindu. Germany: We know India as a melting pot and one of the most influential countries in terms of IT R&D. Can you tell us what the latest trends and communities are that underline this statement!? India: Almost every global and high technology company has established critical R&D operations here and seeks to harness India’s huge intellectual and engineering prowess. Increasingly, product development cycles are taking place out of India. Today, we are host to one-third of the top 1,000 R&D spenders in the world. Industries leading the way are semiconductor, industrial and consumer hardware, aerospace, automotive and defense. Germany: India is full of culture, a long-lasting history and mystic aura. How do these facts impact India’s standing as one of the most promising economic regions worldwide and a breeding ground of highly talented-engineers and artists? India: That’s what makes India, well, India! It’s all about the old and the new co-existing in the India we know today. It’s a country with diversity in every nook and corner. From the majestic Himalayas to the backwaters of Kerala, glorious remnants of the Mughal Empire (the last rulers of India) set aside what is known as ‘Lutyens Delhi’ (a British town planner who built our presidential palace otherwise known as the ‘Rashtrapati Bhawan’). And don’t forget urban development and towering skyscrapers. That’s what we mean by diversity. The ‘new India’ is proud of its past and its heritage and even in the midst of all this development and growing economic status, everything just comes together beautifully (amid a lot of ‘orderly chaos’ as we call it). Incredible India Photo Source: Santa Banta.com , Cultural and Heritage India , Socyberty , Top News Germany: We all know Bollywood, Curry and Lassi as typical things when talking India. But what are the other items you’d recommend to us that define India in your books? India: Yes and don’t forget our mouth savouring street food and ‘dhabhas’ or roadside, makeshift restaurants for which you need a solid and we mean solid, stomach to digest. A whole host of Indian food to add to that list are kebabs, biryani and Indian desserts like jalabei’s gulab jamun, kulfi. There’s so much food variety, you can literally eat your way through India. Then there are our colourful festivals that run through the year and we love to celebrate. There’s Diwali – festival of light, Holi – festival of colours among many others. Diwali – popularly known as the “festival of lights,” Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. These lamps are kept on during the night and one’s house is cleaned, both done in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. Firecrackers are burst in order to drive away evil spirits. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. Holi – the festival of colors – is undoubtedly the most fun-filled and boisterous of Hindu festival. It’s an occasion that brings in unadulterated joy and mirth, fun and play, music and dance, and, of course, lots of bright colors! Holi celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. Germany: Tell us something about ‘Incredible India’ that we should all know. India: We are known for our hospitality, and Indian mythology says that every guest should be treated like God (well, um, not all). The host-guest relationship in India is very different to how it is in the West. So come and sample it – you’ll feel it right from the time you arrive.