August 24, 2015 11:30:55 am
The Internet is full of information, but often, that information isn’t written with the Indian audience in mind. The end result is advice and discussions which a common Indian citizen can understand, but not fully appreciate, since the references don’t hit home—”You’ll get X brand at your local Wal-Mart for $Y” isn’t particularly useful to our readers.
So when you need to talk about things and seek counsel, it’s best to do it with people who understand your context, who get where you are coming from, who have the same cultural references as you do. We went looking for some discussion forums by Indians, for Indians.
If you need to know anything, just anything, about cars in India, head to Team-BHP. The collective knowledge database covers everything about cars, bikes, parts, vintage vehicles, imports, mods, accessories, and anything else related to machines on wheels. The community is particularly helpful with long guides on buying cars, where to get used cars checked, the best EMI and insurance plans, and what types of warranties to go for. Perhaps the best part of Team-BHP is how active the community is in real life, regularly organising meetups and drives, letting you put a face to those online handles.
While its knowledge is extensive, know that Team-BHP—like most specialty hobbyist forums—can be a difficult group to break into. The community binds together and can sometimes be rude or hostile towards newcomers. If you’re a gearhead, you’ll fit in after a while, but be ready to prove your worth.
Whether you need to find the best prices of computer parts in India, need help picking out the best printer, or are wondering which smartphone will give you the longest battery life, these two forums will have plenty of people with an opinion.
Both TechEnclave and TechArena have been around for years, and have active communities of Indian geeks. Make sure you search the forums before asking a new question, because if it has been answered already, you’ll get plenty of rude comments. However, if you have a genuine query that isn’t already addressed, then you will usually find someone else facing the same issue, along with a few experts who will take the time to help you out.
More than anything, TechEnclave and TechArena are great places to ask a community to spot potential problems. Let’s say you found a deal that seems too good to be true on eBay or on a Chinese website like AliExpress . Before you buy it, drop a line at either forum to share your find and ask people what they think about it. More often than not, they will be able to point out hidden charges, fine print, or potential roadblocks that you haven’t thought of.
Internet: India Broadband Forum
Internet is an essential part of the technology experience now, whether through wired broadband to your home or wireless mobile internet services. India Broadband Forum caters to all these needs and is very welcoming of new users. Plus, there is already a vast repository of questions that have been answered in detail.
The forum is especially useful for troubleshooting problems, which occur often in India given the wide range of ISPs and devices. So whether it’s configuring a non-company-issued router or setting up an off-brand Chinese phone with your mobile carrier, you’ll find help here. They have also added a new section purely for 4G-related enquiries, which is turning out to be quite a comprehensive resource on 4G in India.
If your ideal day consists of a recliner chair, a large flat-screen TV, and squashing some bad guys, then you’ll feel right at home at IndianVideoGamer (IVG). You can discuss the latest games for consoles, PCs or mobiles, find out when console games are coming to India and at what prices, and even set up online multiplayer matches.
IVG also has an active community of gamers who are looking to sell, trade or buy pre-owned games. At a time when new console games cost anything from Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,000, this is a good way to get your hands on games for a reduced price.
Women: Indus Ladies
The Indus Ladies Forum claims to be the largest discussion group for women in India. The forum is helpfully organised into several categories and sub-categories, so if you are new to it, you should be able to find what you are looking for easily.
We stumbled upon this site while looking for a discussion group for women entrepreneurs in India, which is an active sub-forum here. Of course, there is a host of other topics too. Beauty, pregnancy, parenting, relationships and food seem to be the most active.
Travel: India Mike
If you are travelling within the country, there are plenty of apps to find out information about any place. However, most of them don’t have an active community of travel enthusiasts like India Mike does. On multiple occasions when we have come here for help, we have found people replying to questions within minutes of posting.
While India Mike was started by someone who loved travelling to India, it is now incredibly useful for someone who is from the country and wants to travel within it. The moderators do a great job of pointing you towards old posts, and actively help out new members in getting set up. Plus, they also have regular meetups in different parts of the country, so if you’re looking for a set of companions with wanderlust, you’ll have good luck here.
Realty: India Real Estate Forum
India’s realty market is complex, and it is common to come across cases of fraud or deception. And builders aren’t the people you want to mess with. One of the co-founders of Housing.com, Ravish Naresh is helping those in the realty market connect with each other to avoid potential problems with Indian Real Estate Forum (IREF).
IREF wants to focus on information, not on classifieds, and already has multiple posts from users warning others against certain projects. The good thing about a forum like this is that if you are investing in an upcoming property, it would be easier for you to find other people investing in it, setting up buyers’ clubs to protect your interest. One of the other active sub-forums is India Property Laws, where you can find simple answers to your questions without having to deal with much legalese.
Photography: Photography Club of India
Those who are passionate about getting behind the lens will love the community at Photography Club of India (PCI). PCI is all about helping amateurs to improve their skills, and users actively engage in constructive criticism. The positive nature of discussions on PCI is what sets it apart from other forums, as the focus is on encouragement, not on dissuasion.
If you are new to photography, then before you get into the discussion, you might want to spend a little time going through the tutorials on the main site . The forum members won’t be afraid to use technical terms and jargon, which might be daunting for a newcomer, but not if you go through those guides first.
Special note: While PCI has its own sub-forum to talk about selling, buying and trading equipment, it is not the best form for it. Instead, head over to JJ Mehta Forums , where you will find the deals to be better in quality and quantity.
General: Reddit r/India
You didn’t think we were going to get through a list about online forums without mentioning Reddit, did you? It’s the biggest discussion platform on the internet, and the sub-reddit dedicated to India is always active. You will find people talking about the latest news and trends in India, people getting nostalgic about old India, people talking about things that aren’t covered in mainstream media, and people just shooting the breeze, among several other topics.
You’ll also find several major Indian celebrities and interesting people conducting AMAs (Ask Me Anything), which is an open forum to ask that person any questions you have. From IPL cheerleaders to musician Raghu Dixit, there are plenty of cool individuals ready to answer your questions, so that alone is worth checking out!