Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another year...

Another year has gone by. This year has taught me much. It has, among other things, taught me that this blog is as loved if not more than my food blog. While this is just my rant space, I've found that people are interested in what I have to say. It doesn't matter if I talk about the state of affairs in the country or share my personal achievement of driving to work and back.

This has renewed my enthusiasm. I have the energy I need to keep this blog going. Thanks to everyone who comes and leaves their comments. By letting me know that you're here, you've egged me on.

OnlineRaga completes three years on the blogosphere. Thanks to all of you! Happy Birthday OnlineRaga. May you give us all many more years of happiness.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Of Media, Esteem, Fairness and Women

I happened to watch some TV this morning. S turned to a news channel. There it was: 26/11 and the Kasab trial. They gave out the entire plan about a bomb proof and bullet proof tunnel that would take the terrorist to his trial. They had computer graphics showing us the composition of that tunnel. And then the usual rubbish about, "Do you know what other arrangements have been made?" I don't need to know. Neither do the guys who might want to sabotage things. If I can watch this, so can they.

On a different note, but related to television nonetheless, do you remember the Maruti Esteem ad that came a few years ago. The "Esteem means what?" advertisement. It was very touching and really cute. Esteem was withdrawn and Swift Dzire has come in its place. I don't like the car at all. But I watched the ad for this car and thought it was appalling. This little girl feels that no one looks at her and the father buys this car. Suddenly everyone looks at them. How shallow! The already low self esteem of that child should have gone two notches lower in that case.

I found the Tata Indicom Samsung Mobile tracker advertisement rather original and very nice. Like the Happy Dent White ad that came on TV a few years ago (and is still aired from time to time). Things are not all bad, I guess.

Though, have you noticed that everyone seems so overly obsessed with fairness. Every cream that is sold for men and women "has" to have a fairness meter attached to it. Someone told these guys we won't buy face or body creams if they won't make us fairer. There was just one Fair and Lovely to contend with earlier. Now even Vaseline (come on!) is forced to add a fairness meter and guarantee fairer skin. I guess very soon we shall see Johnson's Baby Soap and Pears come with new ad campaigns: "Do you think your baby's skin is dark? Use new Johnson's Baby Soap and see your baby's complexion turn two shades fairer in just two weeks."

To sell anything to mothers (not parents, only mothers), all you have to do is tell them how their children will come first in class or grow taller. All they have to do is drink some malted chocolate drink and they're the confirmed superstars of tomorrow. And Bournvita Li'l Champs is all set to start them off early. I am shocked that they're selling a drink so 2 year olds can stay ahead of the competition. Two year olds. Last heard, they were still running around in diapers.

Advertisers also seem to think that in order to sell anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to a guy, all they have to do is tell him that it will get him a girl. It doesn't matter whether they're selling motorbikes (that XCD 135 ad takes the cake) or deodorants or chewing gum. In the end, it is always the girl. Someone ought to tell them that it really isn't that simple. Because we're simply not THAT dumb.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Small Wonder

The Tata Nano is out. I haven't booked it yet. A lot of people seem surprised that I haven't booked it. I know it is just a matter of time. I've been reading reviews of the car and I think the word that would best describe this little beauty is: CUTE.

Somehow I still find a lot of people who haven't warmed up to the idea. I am still the object of ridicule at get togethers because I am the one with the lowly ambition of wanting to own a Nano. Because, you see, the one little Nano that I buy will clog the roads. Believe me, if I told people I wanted to buy a Merc or a BMW, I am sure they wouldn't think of it as something that would clog the roads.

I've now confirmed (to myself) that it is the fact that "everyone could own a car" that's driving the anti - Nano sentiment. It didn't happen when everyone got cell phones (or phones for that matter). We like it that our milkman, maid and newspaper vendor have phones. Yet, we grudge them the luxury of a comfortable commute, should they be able to afford it.

I put off buying a car until I absolutely needed one. I continued to use public transport or a car pool long after we had our car and long after I started driving. (I still do.) I might not buy another car until I absolutely feel the need to. I have nothing against people who own more cars than they need to. I have a problem when these very people start their Nano-bashing. Is it that we want to maintain the difference between the haves and the have nots?

I am sure that everyone will have their two bits to say when I do get my Nano. Yes, it will be an inexpensive (not cheap) car and maybe my milkman will have one too. But I doubt this will make any difference to someone who's been ridiculed for 2 years now for owning a "taxi". People forget... or they simply don't know... that Mercs are also used as taxis.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Water, water everywhere

I grew up in Madras. It is common knowledge that we had very severe water problems. I learnt at a very young age that we needed to conserve water. Maybe not as much from an environmental perspective, but definitely from a "use as little water as necessary" perspective. It used to amaze many of my north indian classmates that I used about half a bucket of water to have a bath everyday. They, then, seemed very proud of the fact that they used two buckets.

Old habits die hard. Even now I find myself shouting at the household help when she leaves the tap open while washing dishes or while washing the bathroom. It doesn't seem to make any difference that I say the same thing over and over again.
At work, I find that people don't bother to close the tap when they're done using the wash basin. Is it indifference? But it's the same group of people send out mails to everyone asking them to join Earth Hour because it is good for the environment. What hypocrites!

Every morning, on my way to work, I cross a certain Delhi Jal Board office. I never fail to read the message at the entrance:

Dadi banate samay paani ko behne na de.
(Do not keep the water running while shaving.)

This message is accompanied by a picture of a man shaving with the water running. And the entire picture is crossed out with a bold red "X".

Nothing wrong with any of this. It is a good message that I really think everyone needs to learn. A lesson that people in Madras learnt the hard way. I wonder if everyone must wait until it is too late. But the ironicaly, even the DJB guys don't seem to care about their own message. I guess it's all just nice to see on a poster or billboard, because I've noticed that whenever a water lorry goes from point A to point B, it does so in a very Hansel and Gretel sort of way. Dropping enough water on the way so it can find its way back home.

I suppose this is just one more thing that will remain beyond my comprehension!