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The essential guide to Urban Poverty Syndrome

Our expert explains the symptoms. They aren't pretty.

May 7, 2016. One of urban India’s worst kept secrets is out – a silent nameless epidemic is ravaging our youth. A generation of underfed and well-dressed youngsters is on the loose, fuelled by hunger. Literally and otherwise. The silent nameless epidemic has a name now. Based on an extensive study by the Anecdotal Survey of India, this malaise has been identified as the Urban Poor Syndrome.

Using an extensive sample size of four anecdotes, this survey describes UPS succinctly and scientifically as an affliction wherein “objectively and relative to a vast majority of Indians, they aren’t ‘poor’ at all. But they’re certainly hungry and broke a lot. These are the metro-dwelling twentysomethings who’ve internalised the pressures surrounding them, and spend a majority of their salaries on keeping up the lifestyles and appearances that they believe are essential to earning those salaries.”

The signs of UPS have been staring at us in the face for quite some time – but as the saying goes, if it ain’t a Twitter trend, it ain’t worth noticing. I feel that it is crucial that I simplify the data presented to us by the survey in a form that the urban poor would be most comfortable with. The listicle. Ideally, I should throw in a few GIFs too – GIFs traditionally validate the infinite wisdom found in assorted listicles. But I digress. Here we go.

Six signs that you or someone you know is in the throes of UPS or better still: The girl at LPQ orders a sandwich. What happens next will make your heart wrench.

If you know a millennial, these are the signs you should watch out for:

  1. The millennial has started bringing a lunch box from home. It is nutritious and good food – but clearly the facade of prosperity is crumbling. It is a distress call.
  2. The millennial starts drinking chai from the tapri on the street. This is a dead giveaway. Who does that? Actually everyone in my workplace but shush. 
  3. The millennial stays back in office to use free WiFi to watch GOT. A prudent thing to do normally, but UPS has now got him firmly in its clutches.
  4. The millennial gets into a local train – like millions of regular commuters in this city. But this is where he or she has clearly reached the end of his tether.
  5. The millennial drinks tap water – even though the office has free mineral water. But now poverty is a mindset.
  6. The millennial does not go to watch Captain America – Civil War but instead becomes the only one at a massively discounted show of YoYo Honey Singh’s Zorawar. That way he plays out a fantasy where the air- conditioned hall with no occupants is his living room. This is where UPS is now totally deep set – and the lines between reality and fantasy blur. This is the point from which there is no going back. 

If you know someone with any three of these signs, you have a full blown case of UPS on your hands. I have discovered rather disturbingly that the young workforce I routinely bully is clearly all afflicted. I have now taken to displaying my humane side at work – I accost and stalk them, wait at office corners and insist on pouring coffee down their consolidated gullets. I stopped a young junior from eating a protein bar for lunch in spite of him insisting that he wasn’t poor, just unhealthy. I know better now.

But still there are signs which confuse me – for instance, another colleague regularly car pools or shares an Ola with others. I suspect now she has borderline UPS and I will counsel her on that.

To conclude, UPS is a firm reality of our times. As concerned citizens, besides the free advice that we can dole out to the less privileged, we must all invest in a stack of Starbucks discount coupons and dole that out as well. Poverty is not the urchin at the streetlight rubbing his nose at the car window – it is the younger well-heeled colleague squashing his metaphorical nose against your cubicle wall.

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Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.


So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.