Hi Suki, please introduce yourself to everyone.
I am super family oriented, a very proud, British Punjabi living in the heart of Bollywood in Mumbai. This year I started telling people that I am a farmer – they look at me as if to say ‘you don’t look like a farmer’ to which I laugh because I believe that in some way we all are. To put it simply I plant seeds and watch them grow, nurture and nourish. I am a full on social butterfly and get stimulated by the arts and lengthy conversations about people, politics, saving the world and all sorts of other controversial issues. I am one to wear my activism on my sleeve and that is often reflected through all the extra curricular activities I take on. Apathy is such a bore, a disease, a killer, I always try and shake things up a little and break the habits of apathetic individuals. We are so powerful and most of us don’t realize just how powerful we are or can be.
What do you do and what excites you about it?
I mostly try and avoid fitting into a box. Somebody described me as a ‘Jack in the Box’ recently. It actually sounds about right – I spring up with ideas to propel you into other avenues and at a greater speed. I am a global brand consultant and I focus on producing live experiences for clients. I also bridge global clients and companies into the Indian territory and work with Indian companies to get them up to global standards. I do not limit myself though - the whole world is a possibility! I get excited by looking at how we can improve what brands do, how to make them more meaningful, to weave into culture or to create a culture of fans and followers. I like to communicate them across the board and solve their mission to go from good to great. I have worked with some of the most incredible CEO’s in different companies in various parts of the world. I learn a lot from them and they learn a lot from me. Corporates are funny playgrounds and I see them as that, a place where the power point becomes a powerless point. Corporate people are disciplined and driven most of the time, I love ambition and I have to work with a team that is hungry for success otherwise I am not interested. That’s what keeps me going back for more as well as the financial perks!
Are you working on any personal projects?
Yes, I am writing a series of children’s books and a fiction novel. The children’s books are fantasy and magic. I also make organic jam that is healthier than the sugary gunk found in supermarkets. I like to use a variety of fruits and mix up some magic, jar it up and give it away. I am now thinking about making it a business and work with people as an empowerment exercise. I want to set up an uncomplicated way of people giving back to community. I have a few things up my sleeve. I am looking at teaming up with a local NGO.
What do you find most inspiring about your city? And what would you recommend a visitor should see or do?
I am most inspired by people in the City of Mumbai because they are true survivors of what is quite a hard place to be in. There is a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. Imagine 20 million dreams combusted in one hotspot. The energy is fierce. Mumbai is called the ‘City of dreams’ for a reason. I recommend people visit the Dhobi Ghat (the open air laundry) for a visual perspective of operations in Mumbai and how it is the ‘make it happen’ city, you don’t need to go on an inside tour, just take a look from the bridge and have a photo moment.
Photo of 'Dhobi Ghat' taken by Suki Dusanj
A must is to experience Juhu beach at sunset, go for a walk around that area. Go see some live music in the city, there is everything from Sufi, Bollywood and an incredible Indie scene, visit the Mehboob studios for a live event if there is something on and if you’re lucky maybe even stumble across a bollywood film shoot. For that luxury feeling a must is a tea at the Taj Hotel, Sea Lounge in Colaba. You have to take a dirty yellow and black cab or ‘auto’ ride at some point, they are surreal. Once I was riding in one and there was a hole in the bottom, I could see the road. They are hot and darn right hilarious. It will be an adventure so be sure to travel with face wipes and sanitizer. Always carry a healthy snack in your bag when traveling in Mumbai for you never know when you might strike traffic and you don’t want to be hungry.
Photo of an 'Auto' thanks to Suki Dusanj
Are there any trends, cultural shifts or movements emerging in Mumbai right now that really excite you?
Yes, there is a music festival trend emerging, concerts, festivals and an ever growing music platform for live independent music. Concert going and ticket buying is developing fast here, the young crowd across India have caught on to the festival experience and we have the equivalent of the UK’s Big Chill and baby Glastonbury’s going on, it is an exciting time for live music lovers and the youth of India right now. This excites me and I am in the midst of it all, having contributed to the scene during my Sony music days.
Tell us a bit about your experience of being involved in a Sense Worldwide project.
I was a cultural reporter for Nike on behalf of Sense Worldwide. This was like a dream job for me for I got to talk about experiences that I was having around the City. I am always sharing information with people so what better way to do it than reporting in an official capacity. I presented some innovative events and experiences that were happening in the city and I was armed with a very talented videographer. I learned to use more descriptive language in my dialogue and I realised how much I enjoyed being on camera and talking. It encouraged me to build my youtube page somewhat further.
Which brand would you most like to have an influence on and how would you like them to change?
I will start with NIKE as I am a very very keen runner. I love sports and I would like to work with them to engage more women in India participating in sports, becoming more health conscious and becoming part of the ‘Just do it’ culture. India has a massive issue with women’s empowerment - an area that needs more work and development. Most Nike campaigns are aimed at men. I believe that the more you take charge of your health and mind through physical activity and food, the more empowered you become. India is fast becoming a fat nation. I think Nike has the power to change this. Heart disease and diabetes are rapidly on the rise. I want to see a fitter, healthier nation and work with Nike to get women in their swinging sarees and kids with their tyre rolls turning over a new leaf and ‘Just doing it with us’. Ditching that extra samosa, denying the bag of crisps and ruling out the caramel crème – reaching out for their Nikes and heading out for a good run. If I can do it so can they. All it takes is a little motivation and inspiration. I want to see a sportier nation. Life here should not and is not all about ABC (Astrology, Bollywood and Cricket). I have visibly seen cricket giants sponsored by Nike but I wonder where the women are? Lets reach out to them somewhat more. Better advertising, outreach and role models are required. Come on Nike – let’s do it.
Is there anything you'd like to share with the rest of The Sense Network?
Yes. Being sensitive makes sense to me now. This is how I see it: Sensitivity is a strength not a weakness. The more sensitive you are the more you detect, know, feel, see, perceive and hear energy. You are more likely to get that something from an experience than one that is not sensitive. I am super sensitive and who is what makes me strong in the work that I do. It has taken me years to share that and work that out, I used to think I had to be less sensitive, screw that - It makes me who I am. I salute all other sense (y)’s in the network for I think you know what I am talking about! *takes a bow*
Check out Suki's blog here.