Saturday, January 14, 2006

The ad doesn't add up

I love ads, in general. I watch them with equal, if not more interest as the program I happen to be watching. So it is a bit of a let down when they don’t make any sense (to me, at least). I don’t mean the ones which have skimpily clad girls whether it is justified or not---those are par for the course, and I feel they are defeating their purpose because the girls will be remembered and the product may not (do I see a heated debate brewing?)
Some ads don’t make sense to me but my teenagers patiently explain the point, so those are OK. At least they are comprehensible to SOME creatures!
There is an ad for Orbit chewing gum, which is supposed to whiten your teeth. The ‘protagonist’ here is a----hold your breath (no pun intended) ---buffalo! The narrator, a rural type with an oil slick for hair, says,”This buffalo eats green grass, but her teeth are yellow”. Hey! Hold on! *Bulb lighting up in my brain as I write this*---is this a barb directed at toothpastes claiming to have chlorophyll in them (for whatever that’s worth)? I remember l-o-o-o-n-g ago, there used to be Binaca Regular, Binaca Fluoride and Binaca Green (with said chlorophyll). Anyway, this guy pops an Orbit chewing gum into the buffalo’s mouth, and presto! The bovine heroine has flashy white teeth! All they have achieved is: underlining the fact that people chewing gum look like they are chewing the cud! Then the guy says something like, “If this works on animals, it will work on humans, because after all man is a social animal.” Huh? In Hindi it sounds even worse, because the last bit goes,”manushya ek saamaajik pashu haiSaamaajik pashu = social animal, if you please!
Digressing a bit: it is a bad idea to literally translate idioms—from English to Hindi, or the other way round--- they sound idiotic. Another example is the “Work in Progress” signs, which read “Kaarya pragati par hai” I live in dread of seeing some yokel, or some angrez type trying hard to figure out that sign, and barging into it in the bargain! What’s wrong with “Kaam ho raha hai” or “Aadmi kaam par hain”. This last will satisfy even the die-hard angrezi translators, because it means “Men at work”. And of course, who can ignore work done on a yudh-sthhar (war footing)? Or the grass-roots level being called trinamool?
The other ad which had me going “Duh?” was the ad for Kotak securities. A man walks up to the counter at a café and asks for coffee.
The guy behind the counter asks, “With milk, or without?”
Customer:" With”
Counter Guy:" With sugar, or without?”
Customer tells him.
CG: Jamaican beans or (something else, I forget)?
Customer tells him.
CG:” Light, medium, strong?”
At this point, the customer gets peeved and empties the cup over the service guy’s head. Huh? Isn’t it the wrong analogy? I thought the more choices you are given, the better it is! Then the company can say their portfolios are tailor-made for each customer. Maybe it doesn’t work that way. After all, I wouldn’t know a bull from a bear unless they were flesh and blood ones! So I’m open to any lesson in basic economics.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What I did not do

Is it a bit late in the day to be talking about the run-up to the New Year? The last week of 2005 was a holiday for the kids as well as R. Looking back; it looks more like a list of what we didn’t do, rather than what we did. So here goes:
We did not go to Jaipur. We had made half-hearted attempts to plan a trip, but it all came to naught. We had not been far-sighted enough. We should have thought of it in October or so, but didn’t. There was the question of whether daughter mine would be having extra classes, which as it turned out later, she didn’t. Oh well, we thought, we can always roam around in the sun in good old Delhi!
We did not visit Akshardham temple. I’ve heard good reports, and one day we certainly will visit, but it didn’t happen this vacation.
We didn’t ride on the newly inaugurated line of the Metro. Marna hai kya! Going for a joyride on a new section of the Metro is simply asking for trouble. All of Delhi and its Auntyji and Uncleji was there, it seems. Of course the overcrowding nearly made the system crash---they ran out of tokens and the escalators were groaning with the overload. Tempers, always ready to ignite, flared high. We smiled smugly in our wisdom. After all we are not rubbernecks. For the record, I have never set foot in any Metro train or even station. Will do so when all of Delhi turns blasé about it! That’ll take some doing, I guess!
We did not ring in the New Year together. Small as our family is, we further split up into self, R and one kid going to some friend’s house, while other kid and gramps stayed home. We fully intended coming home well before the Cinderella hour, to usher in the NY with them, but could not in all politeness rush away from the friends before 11:30. And after that,as they rightly pointed out, all that would happen would be that we would be neither with them, nor at home, so----! The “malls” section of MG Road, Gurgaon had a fair number of revelers. With their cars parked along the side of the road, serving as mobile bars, they all seemed a bit boisterous. As yet they had not become as well lit as the Christmas trees in the stores---they were just happily waving to all the cars on the road. I heard afterwards that later, around 2 a.m., they did become rowdy, lunging at cars, trying to grab at people on mobikes. Thankfully it was not foggy. By the way, in every town and city of India, MG Road invariably stands for Mahatma Gandhi Road; it is only here that it stands for Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road. Anyway, they should call at least that section of it The Mall Road!
We did not buy furniture. Elsewhere in the archives (I love Bertie Wooster) I had mentioned my carpenter woes. The jobs I gave the carp are still not finished. We did go hunting for a centre table and a TV stand, but didn’t find anything suitable. Sigh!
We did not visit a temple on Jan.1st.The Venkateshwara temple is anyway never crowded when we go, but Hanuman temple is a seething mass of humanity on Tuesdays and any other auspicious day. We once went on New Year’s Day a few years ago, and it was not a divine experience. Quite the opposite. The queue went on forever, the floor was greasy—I had to throw away the socks we wore there, because I was not subjecting my washing machine to that kind of grime! Within the shrine, push came to shove. We were hard put to protect the kids from getting squashed. Ever noticed how seemingly little old ladies of the Punjabi variety have strength as the strength of ten? They know how to use their elbows too! I put it down to Makki-di-roti te sarson-da-saag, but more of that later. BUT---- we went to the Venkateshwara Temple(R.K.Puram) and the Hanuman Temple (Connaught Place) on 30th Dec., not knowing that it was Hanuman Jayanti that day. Both places were eminently satisfying—no crowds.This time, we had a leisurely darshan, and yummy prasad of the asli ghee kind! Then we went on to dinner at Saravana Bhavan, and indulged in sinfully buttery dosas! Went on to Nirula’s for icecream---there is something about icecream on a cold night---it is a sort of competition between your inside and the outside—which is colder?
I did not buy heart-shaped balloons from the urchins at CP. They were in rags, and their eyes were streaming. Did someone put glycerin in them? I am not heartless or cynical, it is just that I wish I could do something more concrete for them than hand over a five-rupee coin, which like as not will be grabbed by their"boss" or somebody.
I did not attend the Zubin Mehta concert we had passes for. It would have involved an investment of around seven hours for a concert of two hours. Going from Gurgaon to India Gate, parking there, catching the shuttle, and being seated about one hour before the start, and then afterwards, the whole thing in reverse--we somehow felt we couldn't do it. Ah well, I hope I get the opportunity to soak up some culture another time.
I did not make any New Year resolutions, certainly not the dietary ones! On New Year’s day, we were invited to a lunch party at a farm house. I didn’t know too many people there, so there wasn’t much by way of conversation. But I indulged in a leisurely meal which included makki ki roti and sarson ka saag. Dollops of white butter and lumps of jaggery were also set out, for those who preferred them with their makki ki roti. Of course, I had to have the kulfi! But I virtuously avoided the jilebis, though they are my favourite. It was a placid afternoon in the sun. Just the thing to begin the New Year with. So here’s wishing all of us a Happy New Year, new achievements, new contentment.
Random Thought: Pongal is round the corner. I shall be making the sweet of the same name and offering it to the Sun as he enters the Northern Hemisphere of the heavens. I will once again try to make my kids have some, even if I have to force-feed it to them, and threaten to beat them over the head with the dish!