It’s A M’ad World

WARNING- Do not try this at home. It’s written under professional supervision. Oops, vision. Oops again, promotion.

'Great ad campaign. Now all we need is a product.'

It knows what makes you shop. It shapes your desires. It invades your dreams. It classifies class. It makes you realise the importance of 30 seconds, while waiting for your video to load. It distracts you on the app. It is everywhere! It is the ad world that makes our world tick. It is a mad-ad world at that. We make this mad world.

Do you ever see a commercial and feel like tearing out your hair? Well, bald men are exempt from answering this question. Unless, you were able to grow all that hair back, all thanks to the 2 a.m. ads. This night binge watching of ads is a trap.

I know a gazillion people who can actually have just one air-filled-air-tight chip. Yes, they stop at the first one! APOCALYPSE! (Well no. They are on a diet, and shouldn’t have essentially eaten that one as well).

I know no one – NO ONE – who because of their super white clothes, or even fair-er skin landed them THE dream job. I mean of course Will Smith and Nelson Mandela aren’t famous. Or loved. We are all just jackasses.

Obviously, one doesn’t see many scantily clad women on the street charging at a man just because he smells nice. Actually, one doesn’t see scantily clad women on the streets, period. And just for the record, most of your faces are stronger repellent. The women in commercials aren’t crazy either. I mean, money talks, honey!

Don’t you think the soap brand took it too far when after Aishwarya Rai, Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, they claimed their soap has done wonders to Shah Rukh Khan’s skin as well. SRK! Really now?!

And I, for one, can vouch for how using a certain network is one of the worst “ideas” of my life- though it did give me the idea to write this column. Don’t judge me, now! – I am not from IIN. *cries tears of blood*

The point is how dumb do you think your target-audience is. Well, the companies that pay millions of dollars to professionals for all those fancy surveys don’t always get it that wrong. I mean they must be doing something right if they are willing to spend so much on these bizarre commercials. What this mumbo-jumbo essentially means is these companies consider most of us dumb. Well, you do buy the product? Yes? Then you’re dumb. The truth is out there and it’s bitter.

Having said that, some ads are creative geniuses. From utterly butterly creative ads to pa parara pa rara, I think a few ads go a long way!

All said and done, you like them, you love them, you enjoy them, you detest them, but you cannot avoid them. Just like no one can read this one without the tune:

Washing powder Nirma, washing powder Nirma.

Doodh si safedi nirma se aayi,

Rangeen kapda bhi…..Caught you!

The Problem of Plenty

Dog-opoly is a dog-specie version of the famous board game Monopoly, but it really is the monopoly of dogs on the Indian streets!

Our country has a large population of stray dogs- I mean obnoxiously large! Sometimes, one may not find people on streets, but dogs – always! While it may not be appropriate to generalize, but stray dogs have proved to be calamitous for humans, in many incidents and places. Apart from being a tad-bit noisy and unhygienic, they are quite dangerous. It is quite terrifying to walk on streets at night, with howling sounds in the background. They contribute to a number of road accidents, of which a few prove almost fatal to a person walking, in order to save the-dog-sprung-from-God-knows-where. Not eliminating the fact that it could prove fatal for them as well, and that this is a difficult life for them. (Please don’t call PETA).

Quite a few people, by now, probably detest me for my perspective on this particular issue, but in all reasonableness, it makes sense. I mean I understand that they also are a breathing, eating, pooping, moving, barking-but-unable-to-talk-and-express-their-plight (and so are chickens we eat?) kind of creatures, but in my view we need to re-think the extent to which we take things emotionally, accept that it is a grave issue, and take steps to find a permanent solution.

Any discussion on welfare of strays always gets the same reply, “We don’t have resources to cater to majority of people, and how can we cater to dogs?” I don’t completely agree with this notion. In an urban setting, one cannot diversify problems like that. Everything is correlated. If measures are taken to fix any one issue, it automatically affects the other.

One of the main and obvious reason is our hygiene habits. It is the unattended litter on the roads, which actually is a feast for these stray-dogs, and cater to their survival and existence. We as a culture are quite messy- always blaming the incapable and inactive government for improper infrastructure, and on the other hand, don’t even maintain sanitation regime on personal level! We really do not need to wait for a TV show, a bill-board sign or our Prime Minister to start movement to know the importance of cleanliness. It is only clearing of litter that will solve the problem – quicker than anything!

Apart from that, there are a lot of organisations that vaccinate the stray dogs – all thanks to a few good Samaritans. Let us at least help them help us in any way we can – volunteer, provide resources, financial aid, inform about unattended or bruised stray dogs, adopt and encourage others to adopt, etc. Actually even if one cannot adopt these stray dogs, getting them vaccinated will not only save their lives, but also prevent spreading of diseases. These solutions may not be quick in reducing the number of strays, but probably are first few steps in the planned scheme of reducing their numbers. And Jaipur has proved that it is possible.

Every dog has its day, but with our collective efforts these dogs will have a life.

BREAKING NEWS- Thank you for raising our TRPs

Media is a business, it is a business of news. The trouble is when media gets to the business of breaking news. It breaks all boundaries of ethics and logic, and the whole drill of “please-watch-our-channel” is way too apparent.

What has happened in the last few weeks is but an expression of this! It has been a great ride for all the media houses with so many incidents and topics, juicier than Frooti. Right from the Hardik Patel taking the government for a ride to Indrayani Mukherjea giving ideas to Ekta Kapoor for her new plot, media has gone berserk. It has overshadowed other important news like Kalburgi murder case or Baba Ramdev launching his own brand of instant noodles!

Superficial coverage has become characteristic of Indian news media because of breaking news syndrome! Research, permissions, analysis has no place in this whole game of sensationalism. This has proved to misleading information in so many cases, and then the apology that is rendered so feeble, if at all. But the damage is done, and an innocent has to live with this public humiliation. 24-hour pressure for the channels soon led to reporters thrusting their mikes on victims of a mishap to single-handedly engaging an entire nation in a family-tree puzzle.

Last week Anurag Kashyap put up a picture with “plaster” on his eyes on an oh-your-phone-picture-is-so-hipster website, indicating it as a result of a brawl with MMA fighter. Immediately, the news spread like wildfire, just to know later that he had trolled the media houses to prove a point. Media fell flat on its face. A few people called this experiment lame.

But it is not. It just is the sorry state of affairs with Indian media today.

Introduction of social media has aided in adding more spice to this. Just last week, one girl’s Facebook post costed an innocent guy his reputation. He was declared as a national pervert in the honorable court of Facebook, and many media houses ran this story even without listening to his other-side! Turns out this girl was closely associated with a national party, taking revenge for he-did-not-listen-to-her-and-hurt-her-ego! But the damage was done, and the guy – though proved innocent- was humiliated across the country in just a matter of few hours.

Media is the fourth pillar of democracy! But it seems to have shaken, since the line between “news” and “views” has diminished! Objective news has become a far-fetched dream! The pressure of proving oneself innocent in “Noise at 9”, and putting your point across Arnab Sardesai’s trial is much-more than remembering your wife’s birthday!

In the past, it has proved to be a successful medium between the government and the people. Media was probably the strongest tool in our freedom movement. If handled wisely and ethically, it can actually aid in solving important and urgent national issues. If only they can stop being the seeming corporate puppets, who knows, we could actually be successful in eradicating poverty, if not cynics!