Pooja Dantewadia and Charita Reddy want to show a different side of Bangalore through their online magazine, Boiled Beans.
What do boiled beans have to do with Bangalore? According to Pooja Dantewadia and Charita Reddy, who launched an online magazine on the city called Boiled Beans, the name is the English translation of Bendakaaluru, the eleventh-century name for Bangalore. Armed with journalism degrees and a love for the city, the girls launched the magazine two months after they graduated from college. “We’d been friends for a couple of years and really wanted to start something. As we entered our final year, the idea for the magazine began falling into place and we began working on it full time after graduation,” says Charita.
Pooja adds, “So few people know the city that they live in. Everyone wants to go to Bombay or Delhi without realizing how much Bangalore has to offer them! We want to educate them about the city, and show them a different side to it. You know, it’s more than just Lalbagh or Cubbon park.” “Besides,” chimes in Charita, “other metros have their own city-based magazines for people to read. Bangalore deserves one too!”
But how do a couple of twenty-something female entrepreneurs attempt to plug the gap? “Our age was definitely a hurdle to cross. We weren’t taken seriously. People were hesitant to advertise with us, thinking that we wouldn’t move beyond one issue. But we’re here to stay,” says Charita. “As long as we don’t have any legal problems,” quips Pooja. “Family and friends have been a huge help,” says Charita, “And everyone was so supportive, from writing pieces to sending in pictures, they did everything to encourage us. For the first issue we only contacted people that we knew because we didn’t want word to spread until we had something concrete to show. ”
That was before July 21. Within a week of its release the first issue of Boiled Beans had hundreds of views from across India. From featuring panoramic photographs of Bangalore to a review of a Shantinagar shop called Kashi Vishwanath, it’s an eclectic mix of food, fashion and entertainment. And the response has been beyond expectation. “Sara Aijaz’s designs and Chandale Cariappa’s photographs were really appreciated. And we’ve had offers of help pouring in! From writers to people offering to make mobile applications, it’s been great,” says Pooja. Not bad for a start-up with no external funding or aid!
Determined on going against the grain, the cover story of their August issue is ‘Girls on Bikes’, inspired by a relative of Charita’s. In the pipeline are also health and fitness as well as interactive music sections. “We want to use the resources available online to move beyond the mundane and keep things fresh,” says Charita, “but eventually, we would probably like a print version of the magazine out.” Until then, they’re happy teaching Bangaloreans more about the city that they call home.
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