GeekSynergy 101

Author: Gowrav L

Mantralaya-First Contact

The first time I heard the word Mantralaya, I too thought it has to do something with the religious pilgrimage.., it was a pilgrimage no doubt but the religion in focus is IT of Maharashtra. We were one of the two teams in Innovate for Digital India Challenge (IFDIC) who got the oppurtunity to meet the Shri V.K. Gautam, Principal Secretary (IT)  of Directorate of Information Technology Government of Maharashtra.

We (I and Anil) started early in the morning and left DeviNiwas at 06:45am (Just to clarify Our residence is called DeviNiwas and Office space provided by CIIE is at DeviHouse and never ask DeviNiwas address from a Punekar they will insist DeviHouse is DeviNiwas its just that Niwas is the hindi translation of House ) we met Aniket from the second team at Hotel Span we then took a cab from Hotel span to the Pune stand.

We decided to go by a route cab or taxi, since it would be much faster than the bus. Even though I haven’t traveled in ever so popular “Shivneri Bus”, I can safely say that taking a cab from Pune to mumbai on Pune-Mumbai Express Highway is a much convenient and glorious way to travel.

The journey on Pune-Mumbai Express Highway is the most memorable time of the whole trip. Its basically the beauty of the western ghats without any guard section nausea.


A scenic view at Lonavala on Pune-Mumbai Highway

Instead of going to Dadar we got down early and took the freeway to reach Marine Drive. Mantralaya is very close to marine drive just five minutes walk.

We sat for hour or so in the marine drive making the final changes to the ppt, to be presented that day,  as usual the place smells like a sea shore but the view is mind blowing. We left the Marine Drive after taking few pics there.

Exif_JPEG_420Marine Drive

Our meeting was scheduled at 2:30pm, so we went to a CCD close by to have a mock discussion on what we would talk about and what we wanted to request from the govt. of Maharashtra.

We along with Aniket waited in the CCD, a strange thing to note is that in this end of Mumbai, they are very cautious about security and even entering a CCD accompanies a brisk search with the metal detector.

After staying in CCD for a while we ordered lite lunch, and waited for Naren and Jaideep to meet us there, and in just few minutes they joined us. We then got a bit freshened up and left to meet the Duo at the Mantralaya.

The meeting was in the office of Shri. A. K. Jain Principal Secretary of Mantralaya, Jaideep introduced us to the Principal Secretary and gave a briefing on the IFDIC.

We were joined by the Shri V.K. Gautam, Principal Secretary (IT), by 2:45 and the introducation of all of us were extended by A. K. Jain, we sat down and gave a presentation on what we were working on and what support we anticipated from the government.

There was an hour long interaction with our hosts, they gave lot of tips and suggestions on what we could expect from the govt. during the term of IFDIC.

We left there exited about the possibilities that we could have by being in touch with govt. of Maharashtra in the near future, we walked to Oval Maidan got debriefed from Jaideep on what to do next.


Clock Tower at Mumbai University taken from Oval Maidan

Then we took a Uber to Dadar, and started our way back to Pune by a cab at 5:30,  the clouds over mumbai started pouring heavily and I plugged in my headphones to listen to the audio book “The Girl on the Train”.

This was all possible due to personal interest taken by Mr. Jaideep Singh Panwar, thank you very much Jaideep for this.


Gowrav and Anil at Oval Maidan

Lights, Camera …….

Recently we had a video shoot in CIIE as a part of Innovate for Digital India  Challenge.

This shoot was to present the Ideas that are being nurtured by IIM and Intel for Digital India to the general public right from its thinkers and innovators. The activity was planned to broadcast via Intel India’s website and MyGov in addition to social media.

The session started at 10:30am in the morning of 27th August 2015, with the video making crew meeting the various teams and getting some bytes on their experience of the challenge, about their idea and inspiration, they also pointed out that the video would be roughly 3 to 4 minutes in total for all twenty teams after the final cut, and asked us to come up with crisp statements on our products to pitch it to lay man.

The afternoon slid with video crew taking stills of the teams and making notes on small descriptions about their ideas which will be featured on MyGov vote section.

By evening we were shooting 6 sec Vines where the participants ask for votes for their idea, and this went on till dark in the day.

We receded to our residences with tiered looks after multiple takes for large segments of the video. Our eyes glistened as we walked home thinking about our interaction with Mr. Hasit Kaji, VP Special Initiatives at Tata Consultancy Services and a very senior adviser to the program, scheduled on the next day 28th August 2015.

AiRpaper – Our contribution to Digital India

AiRpaper is a digital data distribution platform built on the premise of India’s Powerful radio network for government to reach citizens effectively. It leverages on the usage of unused spectrum of the FM broadcast to carry textual and pictorial data in regional and national languages to the common man.

Take a look at our short animated video about AiRpaper:

AiRpaper aims to keep the citizens of India informed on various govt schemes, policies and development activities, that the government has rolled out in real time, and all these information is provided for free to the citizens in each and every corner of the country without internet.

In the Top 50

It was in the month of June that I came across a mail from, and as usual I was clearing out my junk mail and just after moving it to the trash that I saw the words Innovate and India on the subject line, and soon moved the mouse pointer across the screen to undo the misfortune I just created, and the story began…..

Overview of the Program

The Making of the Top 20


It all started not with an idea but with the long friendship that existed between us..

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