Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jingles that live on....

What’s with Indian jingles from the 80’s that make them so memorable?

Is it the lovely tune that stays in your head? “Jab ghar ki raunak badani ho...deewaron ko jab sajana ho....Nerolac, Nerolac”. Or is it the heart-tugging lyrics of “Yeh zameen, yeh asamaan, yeh zameen, yeh asamaan, humara kal, humara aaj, humara kal, humara aaj, buland Bharat ki buland tasveer...humara Bajaj, humara Bajaj”.

Over 2 decades later, these jingles are still fresh in mind (and heart) and they come back to me at the most obscure and unusual times. And sometimes at the most appropriate ones. Like this morning when I was contemplating painting a wall in my living room in a different colour and almost instantly I found myself humming “Jab ghar ki raunak badani ho.” Now that’s a powerful association between a consumer need and product advertising. Though I do need to admit until I sang the full jingle I remembered it as an Asians Paint ad! That depicts another key association- seasonality and product advertising. Asian Paints like all other paint companies in India, have their peak advertising period pre-Diwali which is now.

Another of my favourite jingle from that era is “Jab mein chota bachcha tha, badi shararat karta tha, meri chori pakdi jaati...toh roshan hota Bajaj”. The story line of that ad as was so adorable and the images are still vivid in my mind.

And then there was the all famous “Happy days are here again with Thums Up” and “Fresh and Juicy, Mango Fruity”. The extension of the Fruity jingle in today’s day and age with its new commercial is pretty cool too.

Of course there were the tremendously annoying jingles as well (but I still remember them!) like, “Tata ka OK, dhulayi ka saboon, OK OK ha Tata ka OK” or “Antiseptic, nahin cosmetic, Vicco Vajadanti Aryuvedic cream”- which incidentally, I saw recently on TV- non-expiring usage rights?

And the ever-so-irritating “Bhool na jana, ECE bulb lana” with the cliché use Bengali, Punjabi and Parsi talents. And who can forget (at least I can’t for obvious reasons) “Cema bulbs aur tubes” with Sridevi in an electric blue dress and thunder thighs. (Gawd I was incessantly teased in school about that one. And it did not help that Sridevi’s character in Mr. India was called Seema*).

The 90’s decade also saw some hummable jingles. The most notable amongst them was “Kya swaad hai zindagi ka” from Cadburys. And fantastic the use of Mozart’s 25th Symphony in Titan commercials. Not really a jingle of course, but the use of that music piece over various Titan commercials created very memorable ads.

A salute to all these ad makers (for their sheer brilliance), the media buyers (for the endless 60 second buys so we saw the commercials more than the Doordarshan programmes), the lyricists (for the beautiful words) and the musicians (for the lingering music).

Thank you! Thank you for creating commercials that I can still remember from my childhood. Now if that’s not compelling advertising, I don’t know what is?

*Nearly 75% of my brain is filled with needless and little known Hindi movie and song trivia. One example related to advertising- Aamir and Aishwarya have shared screen space only once (they have never starred in a movie together). They came together for the 90’s Pepsi “Hi, I am Sanjana. Got another Pepsi?” commercial. Pepsi was then called Lehar Pepsi. The other girl in the commercial was actress Mahima "Pardes" Choudhary, then a lesser known model called Ritu. Yehi hai right choice Baby a-ha!

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Dream Man

The other day in office “Breaking Dawn” was kept on my desk, and a younger colleague of mine looks at me and says “And... how old are you?!” As I do like her, I just smiled and explained how I felt the urge to read teenage vampire romance fiction (Who would have thought such a genre would ever exist? Credit goes to J K Rowling for her imagination which created Harry Potter and the world of magic and myths opened up to the literary world).

My colleague then asked me “Weren’t you telling us yesterday how we should read Fountainhead and now you are reading Breaking Dawn!?” And my response was that I read Fountainhead when I was 16, and am reading Breaking Dawn at 30+. May be to walk down memory lane? Though if memory serves correct, there was no one could hold a candle to Edward Cullen even when I viewed the world through my gawky teenage glasses.
So that got me thinking...which fictional character fits the profile of the “dream man”?


1. Edward Cullen (of “Twilight” fame)

2. Howard Roark (of “Fountainhead” fame)

3. Severus Snape (of “Harry Potter fame) And though Harry Potter should be a strong contender, the fact that he came into my life when he was 13, he does not qualify)
4. Mr. Darcy (of “Pride and Prejudice” fame)- sigh! I am already biased...

5. Oliver Barrett IV (of “Love Story” fame)

6. Theodore "Laurie" Laurence (of “Little Women” fame)

While I am typing this list (and its ever growing...even considered adding Joe Hardy of “Hardy Boys” fame, but I could never pick between him and his elder brother Frank, so decided to skip them both), I could not help but wonder (and so sounding like Carrie Bradshaw, oohh should I add Big to the list?)...I digress...while I am typing this list, I could not help but wonder how can any real man compare to these legends?! It’s no surprise that finding a dream man is so difficult!

So let’s proceed...

Edward: Not only is he perfect looking with his chiselled face and fabulous body; he is a gentleman and a true lover. His waited for his true love Bella for generations and when he found her, he went to all lengths to love and protect her. It does make your heart melt.
But being the sensible, level-headed person that I am (and yes I know that does not seem like it when I am attempting to find my dream man by analysing fictional characters- but hey! don’t judge me, you are reading this :), I can’t have a vampire as my dream man. As unlike Bella, I love my human form and have no intention of transforming.

Howard Roark: I think architect is the sexiest profession. Creative yet earthly. They dream and they build. And I discovered this ever since I “met” Howard. His passion towards his work, and his scruples which he always stood by, it all made him so attractive. So he is in the running.

Severus Snape: I know, everyone would think he is the most unlikely candidate. But his love for Lily still brings tears to my eyes. How do you love someone so much that you change who you are and what you desire, to just protect that person’s love, even after her death? Snape’s sacrifice is the most heart wrenching one ever. He loved Lily so much that he chose to protect Harry for Lily’s sake after her death. He turned against Voldemort, he killed Dumbledore and he gave up his own life to protect Harry’s- all forsake of Lily. (My vision is blurring with tears now :(

But because Snape was once on the dark side and propagated evil, am not sure he can make it to my dream man final selection. I still admire his dedication deeply though.

Mr. Darcy: Ok I have to admit I have been biased from the onset. Who can resist Mr. Darcy? A true gentleman, kind, respectful, loving, rich...need I go on? And Colin Firth playing his character only added to his charm. Mr. Darcy rules! I have been in love with him since I was 13. But sometimes a nagging doubt does bother me- would that cool, aloof exterior lose its lustre after awhile? Having said that, he comes very close to being my dream man.

Oliver Barrett IV: Love Story by Erich Segal is THE best love story ever. But I always felt that it was Jenny who was put forth as the story’s key protagonist, while Oliver was somehow side-lined. Even though he was the one who got the sequel (well guess as she was dead, that was the only option), he never really got his worth.

He fulfills the dream man criteria because- he is kind, funny, smart (Ivy League and all that), aristocratic, good looking and so loving. His love for Jenny and how even after her death he could not move on is so beautiful and poignant. I loved how his character developed in “Oliver’s Story” which showed his principled and kind side. A man of true character. Ummmm can’t find any flaws, except, would he ever be over Jenny?

Theodore "Laurie" Laurence: Or Teddy as Jo called him. I have read “Little Women” over 50 times. It’s one of my favorite books. And though the sisters are the crux of the book, Laurie does get his place in the book and in my heart. Playful, funny, touching, rich (why does rich keep coming up?), good looking, kind, loving. My gripe against him is that he did not fight for Jo. He gave up too easily and settled for the vain, pain in the ass, Amy. He lost a lot of credibility there.

And the Top Three are: Howard Roark (drum roll!), Mr. Darcy (drum roll!) and finally Oliver Barrett (drum roll x 10). Shoot! This is tougher than I thought!

If we go by the assumption that all 3 of them chose their perfect woman, then who am I closest to? Dominique Francon who marries Roark’s greatest rival, Keating, to save Roark’s passion and work? Or Elizabeth Bennet “Lizzie”? Undoubtedly one of the best female characters in the history of literature- strong willed, pretty, hard working, smart, independent, individualistic but stubborn and boy she had a temper! (sounds like someone I know!). Or Jenny- loveable, calm, kind, cool (in a hippie sort of way) and so adorable.

I don’t know if I could make the sacrifices that Dominique made and don’ think I am as loveable kind a soul as Jenny. Am definitely an Elizabeth Bennet! But for my dream man, am leaning towards Howard Roark.

Well who says Howard would not have chosen Elizabeth over Dominique had he met her? So I could be an Elizabeth Bennet and still find my dream man in Howard Roark!

Now I just need someone to write a “Fountainhead” meets “Pride and Prejudice” book, where Roark and Lizzie meet... and then just watch the sparks fly!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Little Ms. Bossy and Little Ms. Flirty

Ok here is the deal. No one, like NO ONE, tells me to do stuff. (Except Sanil, who is an exception to every rule I have ever had in my life). No one ever tells me what to do is because I am way too responsible and do more than my own share in any case. Even my parents have never had to tell me to do things.

Hence I find myself rather ill prepared to deal with the Little Ms. Bossys of the world. Women who order others around- “Honey, please pass me the TV remote” (my delicate arms can’t stretch 2 cm to pick it up). “Make copies” (Because I would not touch a copier with my hands lest my French manicure is ruined). “Hold my hand bag please” (and yes, I know it’s pink and girly and glittery and you are already carrying your laptop bag and the groceries, but my arms would ache if I had to carry my teeny-weeny handbag).

Seriously! Girls who boss people around just simply annoy me. May be it’s because that’s a trait I have never learnt (I should trained in that instead of the silly MBA degree I opted for). Or maybe because I think everyone should shoulder their own share of responsibilities.

My theory is that people who boss others around are insecure, don’t know how to do their jobs, are inept and inefficient. They can’t survive in this world without their “back up choir”. Learn to sing solo girl! And if you can’t...take classes!

The other extreme is Little Ms. Flirty. Now I still have not decided who I can’t stand more- Little Ms. Bossy or Little Ms. Flirty.

Little Ms. Flirty has some fine traits- Chest out, smile big is the key one. Tossing hair and leaning forward also works well. And how the voice undergoes transformation when speaking to the opposite sex is a force to reckon with in its own right. There is a lilt that’s almost musical, a tease that’s almost taunting and when coupled with fluttering eyelashes- well, you have the full effect- something that no guy can resist. And Little Ms. Flirty is on her way to getting her work done, without lifting a finger.

Now you can say “sour grapes” and you would be right, because I can’t do what Little Ms. Flirty does. I wish I could though- wouldn’t life be easier if you have a man to do it all for you?

But instead of fluttering eyelashes, I make eye contact and maintain it. Instead of leaning forward, I lean back and challenge. Instead of smiling coyly, I laugh openly. Because pretence is only a glorified form of lying.

And the worst case scenario is when Little Ms. Bossy and Little Ms. Flirty gang up. What chance does me- Little Ms. Know it All- have then?

Is it too late to learn to order people around in a teasing sing-song voice?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New name, same-old ME

Books and movies make up my existence, when I am not at work or being a kid with Sanil.

I prefer beaches over mountains. Archie Comics over Asterix. Classic novels over modern populist writing. Copy over Art. Coffee over any other beverage. And chocolate based desserts over everything else in the world.

Have an affinity for prison based shows and movies- Shawshank Redemption is one of the best movies ever. And yes, Prison Break was pretty cool too (and no, it was not only for Michael Scofield and his tatooed body).

If Jane Austen were alive, I would give the world to spend some time with her. And John ‘Die Hard’ McLane is far cooler than James ‘007’ Bond. (Profound apologies to Bond Fans). Closer to home, Aamir Khan rules, while Shahrukh Khan annoys. (No apologies to SRK fans).

My family is my life and my friends are what make life worthwhile. Food is a passion- cooking it, sharing it and eating it. I harbour dreams of becoming a bartender or running a beach-side book store cum cafe.

Kids are awesome! And their perspective towards life is “awesomer”. (As is their ability to make up words. “Liser” is a person who tells many lies as opposed to “liar” who only tells one lie).

I am a victim of advertising and I know there are many like me (that’s why I am still in the business). New flavours of beverages have to be tried. And anything that screams “sale” is actually an investment.

The sky turns orangy-pink when the sun sets because fairies wear pretty orangy-pink tutus and flitter around in the sky. These and many such stories are products of my imagination.

Coz I believe there is no power greater than the power of imagination. We think we make our dreams, but it’s our dreams that make us.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Waiting for an artwork
till late in the night,
Then checking the copy
to see if its right.

And while you’re checking
you just discover,
That your weekend is screwed
as the copy has an error.

Creative makes an ad,
and think it’s a HIT!
The client sees it
and says its SHIT!

Creative is furious
as his line is rejected,
The deadline is not met
and the client is dejected

Between these two,
you will always be lost
And amongst all this
your ego has gone for a toss.

And between everything else
are the endless studio trips,
You can survive all this
only with a thousand coffee sips.

is all you can say,
servicing is a lousy job
and it does not even pay!!!

But at the end of it all,
when a campaign is done,
you can look back and say

Nov 1997