Monday, 8 October 2012

Those Damn Memes

We love Facebook, well; we all love Facebook, don’t we? We really didn’t need to make this statement; the numbers speak for themselves. If Facebook was a nation, it would have been the third most populous nation of the world. There are many ways people use this social networking site, from connecting with friends to sharing info about their businesses, this tool can serve many purposes. The ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons are one of the biggest inventions of our times. We use them very generously. More often than not, we see people sharing lots of funny images. We find our walls are always filled with such images. ‘Meme’, that’s what they are known as, are extremely popular on Facebook. And today, we feature the Facebook page ‘Indian Memes’, a page committed to creating memes based on local content, on Discovering Mumbai.
The Famous Grammar Nazi Jaggu Dada character

Indian memes can be credited for having Indianized the memes. They are one of the firsts who started creating memes based on Desi characters. “The idea came to me when I was browsing several of the Indian ‘humor’ pages on Facebook. What I saw there was recycled content, stuff plagiarized from sites like 9gag and Tumblr and unfunny Indian versions of several popular international memes. Also, there was a dire lack of creativity in the content of most of these pages”, says Abhishek, founder of the page Damn Memes. For Abhishek the page is a way to show that Indians are also capable of creating original humorous content, without imitation or plagiarism. At Indian Memes, Abhishek is assisted by two TYBMM students from Lala Rajpatrai College, Worli, Niraj Jain and Dev Marwa. Chaitanya acts as the page administrator. Together the fantastic four are creating some great content that guarantees laughter.

The word meme is derived from a Greek word, ‘mimeme’ which means ‘something initiated’”, says Dev. Memes have been famous throughout the world for a long time now; it’s just that they took time to catch up in India. They have been around the internet since late 90’s and early 2000’s. Memes derive their immense popularity from the fact that they are instantly hilarious and people can relate to them quickly. “A Meme is not just restricted to an image or a character… a phrase, a line from a movie, a song, a video and even an animal can be ‘memefied’”, says Niraj. And that makes creating memes so much fun, the elements that you can use are unlimited!
Mumbai Train commuter meme

So what are the desi characters created by ‘Damn Memes’ that makes their page hugely popular? “We have created characters like ‘Grammar Nazi - Jaggu Dada’, ‘Supposedly Pro Indian Gamer’, ‘BBM Addict Chick’, ‘Football Oblivious Chick’, ‘Veteran Mumbai Local Train commuter’ and many more”, says Niraj. At Indian Memes the objective is to create memes that will cater to different audience groups of the page. The Mumbai train commuter and gamer memes went viral on Facebook reaching up to 90,000 plus people. The response to their Facebook page is very encouraging too.
Indian Politician meme

The first meme, it was always a challenge! So I chose a… ‘safe’ topic that anyone could instantly relate to – Politics!” says Abhishek, on being asked about the first meme that he created. Once the wheel was set in motion; ideas started to flow vigorously. Abhishek shared the initial few creations with his colleagues and family via a BBM group. Their response was very encouraging. This was the push he needed. The same night he created the page Damn memes and uploaded all of his creations on to it.

“Indian Memes is popular for its quality. We make our own stuff, we use our own brains”, says Dev. They do not copy anyone’s ideas. If they have read a joke before that goes well with any of their memes, they simply refuse to use it. They strive to provide their followers with original content. “Everything on our page is 100% original and we try to cover the genres which no one else has covered. We are different in our own way and that’s what makes us special”, says Dev. It is the dedication to teamwork that makes their memes click. They all work together as a unit and everyone tries to give their 100% on any new idea. 
Football oblivious chick meme

None of the guys work full time on the page and their daily routines do come in the way frequently. At times Dev and Niraj are too caught up with their lectures and assignments to contribute to the page. Even for Abhishek finding quality time is tough thanks to his day job. “I manage to think up most of the content during long commutes to and from work”, says Abhishek. As per them, image creation is a breeze once the idea and content are finalized.
Biker meme

The team is definitely proud of their work. They have achieved what they set out to, providing people humorous content that they could relate to. The number of likes on their page is a testimony to that. “We want to keep on providing original content and improve our fan base. We have a few ideas for new memes and new meme characters that we are working on. I would suggest… wait and watch”, says Dev about the next steps of Damn Memes. They are grateful to a lot of people who supported them in the initial days, Parichay Mehta especially, who happens to be the founder of ROFLIndia page on Facebook. The first few fans of damn memes were through redirects from his page. It’s great to see refreshing local content on Facebook that we can relate too and we should thank these guys for providing us that privilege. We hope they continue the good work and we are eagerly awaiting their new memes. Bring them on guys! Those damn memes! 

You can check out more desi memes on their Facebook page - here

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