Abhishek Asthana a.k.a @GabbbarSingh on Twitter
If you are one of those people who are hooked on to social networking sites, you may know the Twitter handle @GabbbarSingh fairly well. Its owner is the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune MBA student Abhishek Asthana who already has 16,000 plus followers for his humorous Twitter avatar.
Abhishek thought of the idea in January 2010, when he thought of writing a blog post about the movie Sholay. “I thought of this funny situation where the Sholay cast joins Twitter and they start tweeting to each other in their style. I needed screenshots of the tweets, but as photoshopping looked like a lot of work, I thought of creating a Twitter account, tweeting some stuff and taking screen shots of it and then posting on my blog. But after tweeting, within five minutes I had got some 50 new followers and by the end of the day that number was 400.”
“That’s how @GabbbarSingh was born, or should I say, reincarnated, says Abhishek.
Abhishek was earning a good salary, while working as a software engineer in 2009 at Samsung R&D; in the mobiles division at Bangalore. But he left it when he felt that he was not getting enough credit for work that he thought was due to him.
“That is when I decided to do an MBA, so that I have greater control over things and ultimately become a marketing manager,” he says.
From being a techie to a blogger to Gabbar Singh
I took the Common Admission Test (CAT) in 2009 and it was a disaster. That is the time I wanted to be away from Facebook, because everyone around me was talking about the test. I started blogging and wrote a few satirical pieces, narrates Abhishek. His writing got noticed and he started freelancing for the JAM magazine, a youth newspaper in Mumbai. It was then, that I came up with the concept of blogging about the Sholay characters tweeting to each other. When I tried making a fake Gabbar Singh account, I saw that it was already taken. So I had to write Gabbar with three bs (@GabbbarSingh). Fake accounts of celebrities were not so much in vogue in India that time. I began tweeting in English and people found Gabbar, a desi robber tweeting in English, extremely funny and amusing, he recalls.
Abhishek enjoys the anonymity (not anonymous anymore, though). In Bangalore, a colleague actually asked him to follow @GabbbarSingh on Twitter, “Because apparently he tweets really funny stuff.” Abhishek came back to the room and laughed it out. In due course however, people found out that he was ‘the one’.
During his summer placements at SIBM Pune, he faced a similar situation. This FMCG company and one of the panelists asked me if I used Twitter, and if I did, what was my Twitter handle. When I said it was @GabbbarSingh, he said, Hey I follow you! That was an amazing moment, laughs Abhishek.
Fun during the Commonwealth Games 2010
Before the Commonwealth Games (CWG) mismanagement fiasco broke out, we (Faking News, @Gkhamba and @GabbbarSingh) came together to start a new Twitter handle called @CWG2010PR, a parody account which claimed to be the unofficial PR channel of the CWG 2010, says Abhishek. It started tweeting funny, sarcastic one-liners and earned some 3,000 followers in a matter of just three days.
“A lot of foreign correspondents started following the handle and it got mentioned in the print media. In the end, we ended up getting an offer from a national news channel to get featured. We decided against it, and we ended after the CWG opening ceremony, he adds. Many people tried to guess who the people behind @CWG2010PR were but no one managed to. Some people almost caught us when we used to retweet the @CWG2010PR tweets from our respective Twitter accounts so often, smiles Abhishek.
The Gabbar Singh in real life
Funnily, Abhishek is a far cry from Gabbar Singh. He is tall and lanky, with hair falling on his forehead and is clean shaven too. He does not want to make writing his career, though. Your dessert, however tasty it might be, cannot be your main course. If I took up my hobby as my career, then what will I do in my free time?
Abhishek has written few episodes of the Internet late night show JayHind (from the makers of the Shekhar Suman-starrer popular show Movers & Shakers). During the IPL 2011, he was one of the 12 people in the country who were involved in promoting Star Movies’ programme ‘Star league’ on Twitter. Abhishek regularly gets mentioned for his tweets in all the leading newspapers, and these days he also consults startups on their digital marketing strategies.
So after such ‘unusual’ success, where does Gabbar Singh go next? Well, I am a marketing guy and with the help of my popular @GabbbarSingh account, I can get a huge sample size of 15,000 plus people, who I can use for market research. Whenever I have done that, I have got at least a hundred responses in five minutes, he says.
There are celebrities like Konkona Sen Sharma and Gul Panag following his account. Gul Panag told PaGaLGuY that she followed him because “He is witty and he comments on current affairs and technology. What else does one need?”
“My long term plan is to sleep an extra hour, peacefully, after the alarm snooze button is pressed for the first time,” he smiles and signs off.
Some popular one-liners from the @GabbbarSingh Twitter account
- Tweeting about changing the nation is like a Constructor worker ‘working from home’.
- Sarcasm is like electricity, half of the villagers are yet to get it.
- No matter how much you achieve in life, someday a guy will wrap samosas with your obituary.
- Facebook will be much more interesting if only they let you decide, which part of the body, you wanna Poke.
- Sonam Kapoor plays Farmville on her Daddy’s chest.
- Orkut sending you weekly updates is like that Gaaon ke chacha writing you postcards to come visit.
- When your doctor asks you “Do you drink?”. Optimism is assuming that he wants to offer you his scotch
- Continuously updating your FB status while watching a sports match is like making notes while smooching.
- Absence from Facebook is like absence from a prison. If you don’t see the person, assume he’s doing good with his life.
- Comparing Coke Studio Pakistan with Coke Studio India is like comparing Kapil Dev with Kapil Sibal.
- Love is two ‘invisible’ people chatting on Gtalk.
- When in doubt, append a ‘:P’.
- No of hours you spend wearing shorts in a day/No. of hours wearing trousers = work life balance index.