Archive for the ‘My Blog, My Voice’ Category

I always believed that the city of Mumbai must have been created with a lot of planning and calculations. The God’s must have indeed gone crazy when they thought of making a city which just keeps expanding like Sharad Pawar’s assets. Obviously there would have been no crazy idea than thinking of merging the seven islands together and forming a city and then having literally a few cities within a city, like Navi Mumbai, South Mumbai, western suburbs, central suburbs and Andheri.

The process of creating the city must have made God do a lot of home work which would obviously have been a lot tougher than drafting the Jan Lokpal Bill. God started the making of Mumbai. The process was just going fine but then while creating one God damn place called Andheri, everything went haywire. The situation was just like a Windows PC getting hanged when you are all excited to play that porn you just bought home from VT station. To start off, God didn’t find how he could make proper roads in that crazy shitty place, so he handed this complicated job to BMC, the result was fuckol connectivity. Then God didn’t know how could people travel in such a ridiculous place with hopeless road links , so he made crappy rickshaws with faulty meters, purposely imported drivers from UP so that if they are not ready to take the passengers to a desired location, at least Raj Thackery could beat the shit out of them and thrash the rickshaws and rickshawalas apart.

Once the place was created, God found that no one was willing to stay there. People were ready to stay anywhere apart from Andheri. It was abandoned and ignored like Shreyas Talpade and Tusshar Kapoor’s, Hum Tum Shabana. And to solve this problem, God created BALAJI TELEFILMS in Andheri and the situation suddenly changed! Eureka Eureka! All those people who could speak hindi and englisss or aangglish, came to stay in Andheri.

After the creation of this freaky place, it was time to give its people a characteristic. But probably after creating something as shitty as that, God said ‘Fuck it!’. And with this one liner, the Andheri crowd got their unique characteristic! They fail to know their coolness quotient. They do things like a South Mumbaite but when they talk, it’s even worse than a guy from Vartak College in Vasai speaking English.  Their identity is like the Laxmi from the Big Boss house. Lost in translation – In between South Mumbai and the western suburbs.

By now, the heavens were so tired thinking and planning about this pathetic place that when it came to designing the residential look, they decided to just make it without any pains and that give rise to Mhada. One house created and then Ctrl C+Ctrl V followed. Two houses joined together with a common parapet wall and to misguide people into buying such houses, God named this new piece of shit, Seven Bungalows and Four Bungalows.

Then these deprived species from Andheri were blessed with malls, but they started using them like the air conditioned waiting rooms that you have at Mumbai Central Terminus. The malls there are probably the only place on this planet from where Chetan Bhagat books make all the sales and where people still listen to Temperature and Gasolina when they are sitting there.

This was actually the story of just the western part of Andheri. If I would have started writing about the east, it would have taken as much time, as it would take for Reliance to make the Andheri Metro. But when it comes to Andheri, the bottom line is East or West, Andheri is the Worst!

The opening lines on the front page of Mumbai Mirror, 18th August 2011.image courtesy www.releasemyad.com

If you have never bribed a traffic cop…

If you haven’t paid donation for your child’s admission…

If you have never bought a movie ticket in black…

If you have paid the entire sum for your apartment by cheque….

If you have not carried out illegal changes in your house or office….

If you have never bribed a government officer….

….tell us of you’ve never paid a bribe in your life. Mail us your story, five readers selected by us get to meet Anna Hazare.

The first six lines were very appealing, a la Rang de Basanti wave, but it was the last two lines that caught my attention. Get a chance to meet Anna Hazare. It was just like another Scratch karo inaam pao or Kharidiye Pepsi aur paiyyen Men in blue se milne ka mauka gimmick.

It was these lines from the city’s leading tabloid that forced me into getting back to blogging. After experiencing Goa and Lonavala in the same month, there could have been nothing more provoking than this set of six lines that forced me to log onto wordpress again and get rid of my heavenly hangover.

Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption drive sweeping the nation is one of the best times, if you are a newspaper, an advertiser or a news channel because you might never really run out of content nor fail to get visibility. And Mumbai Mirror showed just that, when it printed their dim campaign today. I don’t know what brainstorming these guys must have done before designing something like this. Their initiative has shown that the Indian cricket team is not the only set of people who are getting everything wrong, but there is a chunk like them located in the heart of Mumbai developing such dis-HEARTening content.

On one hand there is man (Anna Hazare), who is not willing to give up on his stance to remove corruption from the nation, a move which closely resembles Rahul Dravid, who showed the world that he was in the form of his life, but that never helped India from maintaining their consistency (just like Dravid’s performance)  in losing all the three tests to England and on the other hand, there is a newspaper who is giving an offer to meet the modern Gandhi amidst all the commotion.

Courtesy Mumbai Mirror, today I strongly felt that a chhota four square was a thousand times better than a copy of the tabloid. At least it killed you with pleasure at Rupees 2.50 rather than the inexplicable and rubbish Mumbai Mirror content that frustratingly killed you by paying an equivalent price.

Mumbai Mirror’s move was as amusing as an INDIA TV campaign which exposed everything that never existed. This reckless idea from a brand under the Times Group puts a serious question mark on the kind of content they develop. This obviously excludes the Superstar Sexpert whose tips can actually be regarded even more revolutionary than Anna Hazare’s anti – corruption campaign, because it not only told those unaware cocks that pregnancy was not caused by kissing and caressing but also cleared the air that having a penis tilted towards the left had nothing to do with the gender of a child.

Just like the Mumbai Mirror, there are many more, cashing in on the Anna-effect to generate more TRP’s or get more readers. You term it insensitive, but it is the truth. The frustrated Arnab Goswami on Times Now, who thinks he is the Anna Hazare of Indian Television, can be seen firing on all cylinders in his studio with the same set of people, who now seem to be employees of the channel hired especially for The Newshour Debate, rather than being guests on the show. There is no method to the madness that is running through the media industry ever since Anna’s campaign kick started.

The first page of Mumbai Mirror that I saw today won’t be the last day that I bought this tabloid, but surely the brand’s credibility in my mind has gone a level below the baffling Speakasia, because the mirror today reflected stupidity instead of reflecting a balance of creativity and sensibility.

Since the last few days, my mind was thinking all about marketing and figures. I read about Myspace, and how its users have declined at a pace which was as fast as Sharapova losing to the Czech sensation, Kvitova in the Wimbledon finals. Then I came across the launching of video chat on Facebook, and Google+ being launched by Google to compete against Facebook was also the pick of the news for me. But all this was simply put to rest when I boarded a local train to Khar Road the other day from Churchgate.

Travelling by local trains, it is not new to spot those unique marketing guys trying to sell their stuff with their oratory skills demonstrating their products in the most uncomfortable cramped positions. I came across one such weirdo. He was marketing an eraser which could remove pen marks. He first gave the audience the USP and then started demonstrating about the product, which was a million times better than the Dent King Ad on Telebrands. This Rocket Singh in my train scribbled on a man’s sleeve and on one of the passengers 10 Rupee notes and then removed it using his magic eraser. The technique was superb. The interactive way through which he displayed the effectiveness of the product he was selling was as appreciable as Dayanidhi Maran putting in his resignation papers. And then it was time for sale. Magic eraser fakt daha rupaye, sirf dus rupaiye, only ten rupees. Though I did not have a count of how many erasers he was able to sell since my train had entered the broken Khar station, but I was pretty convinced that the Rocket Singh must have cracked more than a handful deals.

This simpleton with a UP accent must surely be one the many who on the MNS hitlist, but the way he marketed a simple magic eraser was a ‘NO MUCKING AROUND’ technique. Although it was not as richly designed and developed as the Vodafone Zoozoo’s, who came in between IPL matches to sell Vodafone recharges speaking in an alien language which was probably picked up from the film, ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’. But the guy’s simple technique surely answered all the questions in the minds of the target audience and was attractive enough to lure them into shelling out the red version of the Gandhi and pocket the magic eraser.

The marketing technique gave me flash of stories about those small companies which made it big like chaar boondon wala ujala, from Jyoti Laboratories and washing powder Nirma, which struck an instant chord with the audience and resulted in SALE even though it did not have a starpower behind the brand. It was efficiency and planning over haphazard marketing that won them glory.

The whole experience made me realize, it is not about how many zeroes you have in your advertising budget that makes a campaign successful, but it is about that one effective marketing Hero who can clock in those zeroes in your revenue.

R.I.P chaar anna

As I write this blog, the 25 paisa coin must be finally smiling merrily even though its death is just a few hours away. The 30th of June 2011 is considered to be the last day for the use of this coin. Thus the coin with the trademark rhinos will soon be extinct like the dinosaurs from the nation. The decision of doing a CTRL+ALT+DLT job for the coin can be considered as one of the few good decisions that our government has managed to make.

Although the minting of the 25 paisa coin had stopped way back in 2002, but it was only recently that the government took the decision of putting an end to the circulation of the poor chaar anna. The 25 paisa coin must be elated with this because in the last decade, it has faced so much negligence and disownment from the people that those who had to take a 25 paisa coin would be so agitated as if they were asked to take a DVD of the Tusshaar Kapoor starrer  ‘Luv U Mr.Kalaakaar’.

The poor pachchees paisa of India has been so brutally raped by us that it’s value has diminished at the rate of knots in the past few years. With the growing rate of inflation and the absence of the pachchees paisa Parle Chocolates in the market, the coins were always on their way to the Victoria Memorial. The last few years must have been so traumatic for the poor coin that it had to face insults even from beggars who stopped accepting them due to price rise.

Today we are living in an age, where we willingly accept a centre fresh or a mentos when there is shortage of change on the store managers side. Thus in the 21st century India, the chaar anna rarely had any takers.

But there is an interesting news saying that there are very few who want to do away with these coins. All the while that these coins were there for use, people didn’t want to pop out that coin from their pocket and now they don’t want to do away with them. And this must be simply because everyone wants a piece of the history in their wallets to show their children and grandchildren.

The end of the circulation of the 25 paisa doesn’t really bother me nor interest me as much as it would, to any numismatist around the country, but still the fact that I write this blog proves that the death of this abandoned coin has managed to catch my attention amidst all the controversy of Dhoni getting out on a no-ball and the shock of Roger Federer crashing out of Wimbeldon.

Taarak Mehta - 'inconvinience caused to viewers is deeply regretted'

The fiction category in the television industry in India hardly has anything in store that interests me at present. But there is one show that has managed to etch a strong recall in my mind and that is ‘Taarak Mehta ka oolta chashma’. But the man responsible for this recall is the bugger who plays Taarak Mehta in that serial. Looking at the man, I started feeling guilty that I had tweeted Mimoh Chakravarty as the worst actor existing on this planet a few weeks back. Because Taarak Mehta, has been so religious and consistent at the art of over-acting that he can be literally called the legend of over-acting.

The serial has him playing the sutradhaar, or I rather call him a mutradhaar, because he simply pisses me off. Every now and then he comes in to irritate with nothing interesting me about him apart from the perfectly trimmed moustache that he has, thanks to the Chinese version of trimmers. The serial is quite bearable until this weirdo enters in the picture. The moment my 24 inch TV screen shows his entry, it reminds me of that thirkey old uncle in my building who beat the shit outta me for 7 long years by just repeating his same gyaans on corruption, poverty and water shortage. The serial has humour to it but then Taarak Mehta rips it apart with his monotonous hindi one liners.

This guy is not a new name in the television circuit. Even before ‘Taarak Mehta….’ started, I had noticed this Gaddafi of Indian TV, hosting a show called ‘Wah Wah’. The show had those roadside kavi’s narrating their poems. Taarak would laugh his ass off listening to those jokes which were as disgusting as a packet of Parle Smart Chips. That was the time when I knew that this guy is going to be the Prem Chopra of Indian television, brutally raping minds with his crappy sense of humour and ludicrous gyaans.

Now the same man has come in Comedy ka Maha Muqabla, and that is when I realized his name was Shailesh Lodha and then minutes later I realized that how badly that ‘o’ from his surname needed to be replaced by two vowels ‘au’ to make it a perfect name for the new comedian that the country doesn’t need.

Taarak Mehta on a whole is one nuisance of a character. He needs to understand lack of sensibility and not sensibility, is the way to make people laugh. Right now, he is ‘No brains,no humour, no fun’. He is a perfect recipe for boredom and a pathway for unwanted stupid pravachan. If characters like Taarak Mehta think that they can get the audiences laughing with their humour, then I would rather opt to watch a frustrated and animated Arnab Goswami on Times Now who gives me a much better reason to laugh out loud with his 9PM unsubstantiated debates.

one of the ads from the famous hutch campaign

The advertising world has been something that has always interested me a great deal. I have always been fascinated by those super creative ads and have always wondered how those ridiculously talented heads come up with inimitable ideas. However none of the above accounts for my reason of getting into this field. But after completing a graduate degree in advertising, one thing that struck me about this industry was the process it has drawn for those aspiring creative asses to get into the industry.

I gate-crashed into almost a dozen agencies before getting an unpaid internship in what I would term the most dreadful experiences of my life. I was like the Tom Hanks from Castaway, stranded on the island of advertising and waiting for that one blink of light which would give me an entry to some good agency. But that experience of working in a small mysterious so-called agency taught me a few lessons. Atleast I understood that those Neelkamal chairs weren’t made to sit for 8 long hours in the agency and a copywriter would never ever be comfortable doing client servicing. It also made me realize in a span of a week that script writing was my forte. Now that is not an excuse for leaving the agency but a strong reason which completely eradicated the disease of becoming a copywriter that had plagued me.

Post that, I never managed to find any reference relating to advertising in my whole family so I kept that copy thing aside. It was just too much time wasting and irritating. So after spending a hell lot of time with an idle mind and then starting to work as a script writer, I continued keeping a close eye on the ad world before finally drawing a self made conclusion which might be acceptable to some and arguable to others.

So based on my own thesis and experiences I have just realized that those getting into an agency are required to fulfill one asSOLE criteria and that is “REFERENCE”. Those not having a reference can continue beating their ass off in the search of that one word “REFERENCE”. That is the best way you can get a green card into the fatte Sutta-Booze agency world.

And if your interview happens to be like the one scribbled below, you might just be the next talented dog writing that Hutch jingle after listening to the original one on youtube.

Creative head : hi….so tell me something about yourself..

Destiny’s child : hmm….i am a creative loser…I have completed bachelors in mass media…I want to become a copywriter…

Creative head : So do you any experience…?

Destiny’s child : yes..i have done a few college projects..

Creative head : what did you do in the projects..?

Destiny’s child : I did not do anything…I gave my camera, my laptop to my group mates and they made everything…

Creative head : any presentations that you did in college..?

Destiny’s child : no..our co-ordinator was my uncle’s friend so I didn’t have to attend any presentations…but yes we had done a social awareness campaign…

Creative head : so what did you do in that…?

Destiny’s child : I did nothing…my group mates handled everything…I just gave them contacts of a few channels and newspapers…

Creative head : wow..so far so good…now final question…any reference with which you have landed here?

Destiny’s child : yes…my dad knows the creative director of the agency…

Creative head : great…join in from tomorrow…package 15k….

There thousands like the Destiny’s child who are aliens to the creative world but with that one single word ‘REFERENCE’ are able to be a part of the industry that is termed to a breeding ground for talented blokes. However the irony of the situation is that, those who are really worth the buck, are still sitting in their houses, sharpening their skills on photoshop and illustrator, watching thousands of ads on adsoftheworld.com to get their knowledge about copy bang on and sending in their updated resumes to all the agencies they come across via google on email addresses like careers@xyzagency.com which are almost disowned by those handling the HR department.

So the bottom line of the whole article is that those who want to get into an agency should either hunt for a reference to save their ass and if they don’t find it but still have that creative keeda to get into the agency, all I can say is you should have continued googling information about agencies instead of wasting time reading this.

get older to taste the old monk

The government bodies in India, be it at the state or at the centre, are always known for the amusing rules they create and the unexplainable laws they introduce.  Every now and then the government gives a glimpse of how reckless they can be. And this time it was the turn of the Maharshtra state government to show their dim-wittedness. The Maharashtra state government passed a rule which stated that the legal age for alcohol consumption has been raised from 21 years to 24 years. Ridiculous isn’t it?!

The beer babies who are depressed with this law can smile because the rule is only for those consuming alcohol, so those kids drinking a Kingfisher strong or four cans of Fosters can continue having their baby fodder.

The state government’s new rule can be termed as an act of imprudence. I would have been more happy if the state government would have focused more on repairing their faulty alcohol detecting meters rather than introducing something as silly as this. The age to drink legally in Maharshtra is now 24 years, which now means there will be more breaking the law than before. Earlier it was 21 years and yet there were people breaking the law. Now if the government thinks their new act will reduce the number of youngsters resorting to alcohol during parties or KT’s, then they are either sleeping or their kids haven’t ever tried a peg apart from breezer.

The point of introducing a law that is bound to be broken is as silly as Pritam pleading and saying he has not copied music till date. Rules should be made with purpose that they will be followed. Today a majority of youngsters try alcohol as soon as they step into college. And there is nothing illegal about it. After all it is all healthy celebration. Not as healthy as I quoted though.

The country terms an 18 year old as an adult and gives them the right of choosing a government to run the country then why suddenly these small things like drinking become a big issue. With laws like these, the government is just encouraging people to break laws and disrupt discipline. I am sure the day this rule was created, the bars around the city must have been filled with all 20 something’s raising a toast and laughing at the country and the useless democrats that are ruling them. The after-effects of the rule for sure will be seen but only for a few days. I am optimistic about the fact that the next time I go to wine shop, the shopkeeper will ask for my age proof and when I say I am 20, he will say he can’t sell it. Then will start the easiest bribing game. Go behind the shop, give him 20 bucks extra and mission accomplished. RS in hand. Law broken, corruption sustained.

I was 17 when I first tasted vodka and then came whisky and when I discovered rum, I was so overjoyed sipping the monk that I felt like a Columbus who had just discovered America. There is no doubt there might be several more like me who started out at similar time or even earlier than  that if not late. I broke the law and so did a chunk of others of my age. But what could we do? The law even then was unrealistically drawn that it was never going to be taken seriously by anyone and the new one now, has just added to that idiocy.

The crux of the matter is that, the people coming up with such rules should first give a thought to what they are doing. What’s the use creating something that even the creators know is going to be destroyed? Isn’t it better to come up with something that will be followed?

Drinking is an individual’s choice and not the choice of the government. But still if they say they are concerned about our livers and kidneys then the figure 18 is just fine. Not drinking till 24 is as tough as solving those tenth standard D group sums. Real task. Can’t wait till 24, if I do, I would start drinking in depression. It’s our life, let’s make it large. No promotion intended.

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The latest news that caught my attention was the decision taken by the Mumbai Police to ban all its officers from having raunchy item numbers as their ringtones. The reason given for this decision was the fact that ‘they thought if officers had raunchy numbers as their ringtones, it might not instill confidence among the people who come to the police station with their complaints’. This is more amusing than it sounds. I was taken aback when I read this coming from the Mumbai police department as a reason for their action.
The country has been busy hailing the police force of the country for the kind of work that it has done over the past few weeks. Be it solving the kidnapping case of an infant in Mumbai or rescuing a year and a half old child, who was kidnapped by a maid in New Delhi.
According to me, in both these cases, what mattered to us was not what ringtone these police officers had when they set out to work but the commitment they showed to crack the case. Now amidst this, when we look at the decision taken by the Mumbai police, we can only think about what relation does setting ringtones on a cellphone have with people going to police stations to lodge complaints.
The Mumbai police should understand the fact that whether its ‘munni’ dancing when the phone rings or ‘Sheila’ sizzling when a hawaldaar gets a call , it hardly matters to the common man. What matters to us, is the fact that the work should be done and it should be done on time and with efficiency. As long as the police delivers the goods, all is well for the aam janta.
We don’t mind whether Pandu’s ringtone is munni badnaam hui or Sheila ki jawaani, provided, he and his men save our abla naari.

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did i just do something stupid?
Ever since Mukesh Ambani created his billion dollar mansion, I always wondered whether the business giant, for once thought about what he was doing. The idea of creating a sprawling 27 storey house for a handful of people was beyond my understanding. This similar feeling must have floated amongst the 125 crore in the nation except for Mukesh Ambani himself. There is no doubt that people around the nation had something to say about this wise businessman’s dumb decision.
Finally a few days back, one of India’s most successful businessmen, Ratan Tata expressed his concern over the Ambani mansion in an interview he had with the London Times and said what many in the nation wanted to say since the day they first read about Mukesh Ambani’s dream home. Ratan Tata quoted, ‘It’s sad Mukesh Ambani lives in such opulence’. The head of the Tata Group stated that, in our country, the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, and amidst this, a man who is on the verge of becoming the richest in the world, fails to recognize this fact for personal glory and luxury.  
It required a person of the magnitude of Ratan Tata to come out and express a concern which was probably common for a majority of Indians. After a few days though, the Tata Group clarified that Ratan Tata‘s comments on the issue were misquoted by the London Times. But whatever it was, it was the truth.
The Ambani House is nothing but an obsession to do the unwanted and in turn create personal landmarks.  Antilla is a billion dollar mansion, probably the costliest in the world. The electricity bill of the house for month is around 70 lakh rupees which equates to the electricity consumed by 7 thousand Indian families. Ambani, for sure brings pride to the whole nation when he is seen on the Forbes list year after year, but the worry is how little he does for the nation. I wonder if the desi billionaire even knows the fact the there are huge chunks of people living in this country with an income of rupees 578 a month and then there is he, buying a jumbo jet as a gift for his wife and setting up a residence with three helipads.
The Mukesh Ambani story gets more shameful when we hear of people like Bill Gates coming to our nation to help serve the poor and fight social problems. Mukesh Ambani, a man with such a lot of power and wealth had so many options of helping the nation and setting an example instead of working towards creating a landmark in a country which, even today is known for bollywood, cricket, corruption and its POVERTY.
Mukesh Ambani and others like him, living in opulence need to understand that, personal glory to some extent is bearable but when it reaches a senseless and insane height, people start questioning the credibility of an individual and his contribution towards the society. It is time, those having lockers overflowing with cash, started putting the country ahead of their own personal grandeur.

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play it loud
It is great move by MTV India to bring in Coke Studio to India. I don’t think there must be any music lover who isn’t aware about the Coke Studio. But for those who say they love music and don’t know it or those without access to the internet, Coke Studio is an integrated communication technique adopted by Coca-cola in Pakistan to promote their brand through music events that are shot and publicized. It has been a big success in the neighbouring state. In India too, the coke studio proved to be a hit. Indian Pop lovers religiously followed songs by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Atif Aslam, Strings and many more Pakistani artists and bands on Coke Stuido via Youtube. But now with MTV India set to launch Coke Studio in India, the Indian music fan will get again taste of the lost pop culture.
The 90’s saw a wave of pop songs hitting the music industry with singers like Shaan, Sonu Nigam, Daler Mehendi, Shubha Mughdal, KK etc. coming out with their own cut albums. There weren’t just the solo singers that were popping with their songs in the grwoing pop industry, but there were also a few promising pop bands that were making a mark, like the Aryans, Euphoria and Silk Route. These bands gave songs, that even today have the highest recall when you think of Pop in India. Sadly, since 2001, the Pop industry in India almost disappeared. Hindi movies was the sole source through which the desi music lover was made to satisfy his hunger for pop music. This never really fulfilled the audiences’ needs and the Hindi movie songs never managed to fill up the missing Pop music category. And then those who saw Pop missing in their music plate, turned their heads to Pakistan. All of a sudden, Atif Aslam was the new King of Pop in India, Jal hit the Indian shores and created a storm, then came Call, Ali Zafar, Shahzad Roy while Strings made a strong market in India with back to back hits. Indian Pop bands had sunk like the Titanic.
But now with the efforts of MTV India, the nation is all set to get a taste of Pop music again with Coke Studio. The show is produced by Leslie Lewis, the guy who had formed the band called, The Colonial Cousins with Hariharan. Coke studio India will be having singers like Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan, KK, Raghu Dixit, Hardeep Kaur, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Kailash Kher, Richa Sharma and many more pop artists. The show will be aired from 17th June 2011.
I am glad that finally some sensible heads got together and tried understanding that a Pritam giving cut copy paste stuff from a few websites wasn’t something that the audience needed and wasn’t worth of being termed music. The launch of the Coke Studio will give us quality stuff and will finally put an end to the poor pop fan stumbling upon Youtube and then trying everything to download another Atif Aslam number onto his lappi.