As an author, editor, venture capitalist, entrepreneur, ethnographer, curator and cultural catalyst, I have worked within overlapping spaces, with constituent elements that create both intersections and disjunctures. Academia-business-creativity. Global-local. Theory-practice. History-geography. Traditional-contemporary. Throughout, I have sought to connect the dots on my exploration of the textured nature of Indian modernity.
I presently head the Godrej India Culture Lab – an experimental ideas space in Mumbai, and I also broadly work on innovation within the wider Godrej group. In addition, I serve as the Editor-at-large for Verve magazine, India, and am also affiliated with MIT's Comparative Media Studies as a Futures of Entertainment Fellow. My book Gay Bombay: Globalization, Love and (Be)Longing in Contemporary India (New Delhi, London, Los Angeles, Singapore: Sage Publications) was released in April 2008. I keep on threatening to write a second book. Some day.
I am a TED Fellow (2009), and a Utrecht University-Impakt Fellow (2012), and when I make occasional appearances on lists like the Financial Times “25 Indians to Watch”, or CNN Travel’s compendium of “Mumbai’s coolest queers”, my friends, family and former childhood bullies quiver at the possibility of of having a C list celeb in their lives. I suffer from no such delusions myself – on a trip to Sydney to speak at a conference some years ago, I was firmly put in place when I posed with my large sunglasses, diva-like, for the paparazzi waiting at the airport, only to realize that the cameras were flashing for Nicole Richie who was behind me. (Their rudely shoving my trolley aside to get to her was the cherry on the cake!)
When I’m not being slighted by Australian paparazzi, I sometimes present on different aspects of creative and corporate India at forums like Names Not Numbers, Literature Live, and Lakme Fashion Week (Mumbai), The Unbox Festival and The India Art Fair (Delhi), Nokia World (London), Next Media (Banff, Canada), XMedia Lab (Auckland and Sydney), The MIT Communications Forum (Boston), and Digital Natives With A Cause (The Hague, Netherlands). I have also given talks at institutions like the Berghs School of Communication (Stockholm), George Washington University (Washinton, DC), IIT (Gandhinagar) and MICA (Ahmedabad), corporations like Accenture and Google India, and at forums like the NASSCOM Diversity Summit, on my research relating to LBGT India. I have greatly enjoyed serving as a judge at contests like the British Council's Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year Award India (2008) and for the Marie Claire 'Made in India' Fashion Awards (2009) and am waiting to be called up to jury duty for Miss India. Some day.
Earlier in my career, I worked on new media, venture capital and innovation for Mahindra & Mahindra. My other work experiences have included founding India's first youth website, business development for Sony's Indian television channel operations, writing and editing copy for Elle magazine and the Times of India group, helping make a low-budget feature film and teaching as a visiting faculty member at a Bombay college.
I have two Bachelors degrees from the university of Mumbai – in Commerce and Education, a film diploma from the Xavier’s Institute of Communication, Mumbai, and a Masters of Science in Comparative Media Studies from MIT. I started and then dropped out of my PhD program in Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at UPenn. Since I suffer from PhD envy, and since so many of my friends have PhDs, I make annual mewing noises about re-enrolling and actually completing my own PhD, but no one seems to take me very seriously about this. I’ll show them. Some day.
‘Parmesh’s Viewfinder’ - my Verve column is usually a good space to see what all I’ve been up to recently. I usually cross post it in the Blog section of this website; I also post any other newspaper/magazine articles I write there, so check it out. Also, you could see videos of some of my talks and public conversations in the Videos section of this website. Feel free to get in touch, either over email, or using social media.