Friday, June 30, 2006

Professional hazard!?!

Last week, I had to visit a doctor to get a check up. I am not at all fond of doctors or hospital so it took a mighty effort from Vivek and a severe knee pain to force the visit. There I was sitting in the lobby cursing my knee and the doctor, who was late. I couldn't postpone the visit because she was then proceeding on a month long vacation "abroad." She arrived full 40 minutes late. Isn't there a rule that at least doctors should be on time? I mean many lives depend on her or his punctuality doesn't it? Thankfully it was a posh looking private hospital with its lobby looking like that of a five-star hotel and not a government hospital so I survived the wait.

Anyways since it was way past Vivek's office timing he left to office leaving me to see the doctor all by myself. So finally when the doctor arrived I literally ran inside and rattled off my problem. She asked me a few questions and asked me to lie down for a check up. Then she asked me what I did for a living. I usually don't answer the question but doctors make me nervous and I blurted 'journalist.' She beamed at me and said "I should've guessed," I was thinking 'oh may be this sort of knee pain is a professional hazard' and said so aloud. The doctor chuckled and said "no no it is not like that. Just that you have air of a journalist" and didn't elaborate. Since I did not want to linger any longer in the hospital I didn’t insist either.

Now the question is, what is "an air of a journalist"? I've come across this kind of statements many a times off late. Nobody has asked me straight off are you a journalist but when I tell them I am one, they usually say 'I should've known.' My mom and my brother tell me it is the way we journalists dress. Is it? My mom constantly complains how my dress sense has gone down the drain since I took to media. And she usually manages to draw a consensus from people around on that.

Now that is a professional hazard. I mean if we journalists have a dress code that everyone can identify, then it is a very dangerous thing isn't it? How on earth will we do an investigative report if we can't manage to be inconspicuous?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

NDTV Does it again!

They are just too good. They make other news channels' attempts a sensationalising (what with all the hidden cameras, animated reconstructions and all that) news very very mild with its sophisticated attempts.

On Tuesday Srinivasan Jain proudly announced that "LTTE has apologised for Rajiv's assassination and seeks to mend its relationship with India - exclusively on NDTV" and kept saying it for next half hour. I usually avoid watching news in close to bed time because my doctor has told me that it makes my blood pressure shoot up and might prove explosive. But this headlines caught my attention (I know I know I am the classic sucker that all these channels aspire to cater to to). Anyways NDTV's correspondent (name forgotten) was interviewing an aging Anton Balasingham (somewhere near London!). He said "As far as the event (Rajiv's Assassination), I would say it is a great tragedy, a monumental historical tragedy for which we deeply regret and we call upon India to be magnanimous....."

Back to Jain in the studio. He repeated that LTTE apologised for its act (???) and said the statement had cleared the air on who was responsible for the killing after more than a decade and half after the assassination! That was news to me I thought India had proved that LTTE was indeed responsible and had arrested and convicted as many as 27 people supposedly belonging to the banned outfit. Jain himself said this leading up to the next report that talked about sivarasan and Dhanu killing themselves in a Bangalore hideout (although pronounced as Dhanno by the reporter - Sholay hangover perhaps?).

Even more baffling was the next report that showed much thinner Jain himself (somewhere in Sri Lanka) after that historic press conference that LTTE leader Prabhakaran had called for. The report showed Prabhakaran regretting the assassination, in as many words. I understand Tamil so I know he didn't say "we did it" and his translator Mr. Balasingham certainly did not say it. Later though Jain came on screen and said again "LTTE apologises for Rajiv's killing." But not before commenting on what Prabhakaran was wearing at the press meet. What's with NDTV's obsession with what kind of outfit people they air are wearing?

Now don't mistake me for an LTTE sympathiser. I am not. What irks about this report is how the channel is trying to twist the statements to suit its TRP ratings! Oh BTW about LTTE seeking India's cooperation, Jain said "India" has said NO to any such thing. And they cut to the sound bite of this Anil Sharma, a Congressman and Rajiv Gandhi's close associate where he is saying very passionately LTTE doesn't deserve India's friendship. Now my question is who the hell is Anil Sharma? And since when did one individual who holds no office whatsoever in the government represent India?

You think I am over reacting? you see today's Hindu where another spokesperson of LTTE has said "We did not own up to killing"

What are we doing in the name of Journalism?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ice cream saga - last word?

Remember I told you about the Pleasure up campaign of an ice cream brand? Based on my acquired knowledge, I had speculated that the advertisement had gone 'wild' to include adults in its market bandwidth. Unfortunately it turns out that I was in fact correct in my guessing. Here's a report that has a brand-domain (?!?!?) specialist saying it is no accident that the campaign has been 'sexed up' but a deliberate attempt to capture the 'broad spectrum'

Question: I saw the Kwality Walls piece of advertising with my 13 year old kid. It embarrassed me no end. I thought ice-creams were for kids. How come? Satish Venkat, Bangalore Answer: Satish, I hope you were the only embarrassed one of the two. Ice-cream advertising is coming of age in India. The concept to examine is the one that points at two forms of brand positioning and advertising. The first form is what I term “narrow spectrum” positioning and the second is “broad spectrum” positioning. When ice-cream (or for that matter frozen dessert) brands enter a market, the first thing they do is pluck the lowest common denominator of the market. This is the child-audience of the country at large. Key and simple insight: Kids love ice-cream. All ice-cream advertising therefore, focuses on little children as consumers and their not so little parents as endorsers and buyers. When you advertise an ice-cream for a 2-15 year old, this is narrow-spectrum positioning. The potential for the consumption of an ice-cream is however, across the base of the population at large. After plucking the low-hanging fruit of the market, marketers focus on the possibility of a broad-spectrum appeal that could grab the child, adult and geriatric alike, into consumption. This is when advertising starts addressing every family member there is to address, with one common appeal. Broad-spectrum positioning however robs a brand of focus. And that is the downside of this kind of a positioning stance. Reasoning: When a brand means everything to everybody, it means nothing to anybody! The ice-cream advertising you are referring to, is an attempt to make the ice-cream as adult as possible. The adult market is full of value. Adults are getting very indulgent today. And its time to capitalize on this trend. Its time to erase memories of the ice-cream as a kiddy thing to do, from the mind of the adult. And therefore, this attempt. Don’t be too embarrassed. Let’s hope the kid at hand does not understand the hidden meaning of all those suggestive notes and tones. I am sure this is a false hope, though.

For more click on this link

This makes sense doesn't it? All the advertisements - print and television has some sex innuendo or the other in it. It is all part of the strategy to include the 'broad spectrum' hmm.

We are from the land of Kamasutra but we will not allow girls and boys to sit together in classrooms. We will give sexual connotations to ice cream but we will not show two people kissing on screen. We will have women in itsy bitsy clothes in every scene of the film to attract the crowd but she has to wear a Saree or a salwar kameez when the hero talks of marriage to her. We will have condom vending machines installed in all public places but will laugh at any one who tries to use one.

We are a very confused people aren't we?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Knock Knock

What does one do when death comes knocking on your door? Does one see angels, devils or god himself? Or does one simply see list of jobs undone, dreams unfulfilled? Does one see her or his life in a flash. Is there regret? Or does she or he feel relieved this is over. Does the person feel the life is now complete and now she or he can move on? Where do they move on to? Is there a place for them outside the memories and picture frames they fill?

Everytime I encounter death all these questions come up in my head. Of course I have not come face to face with death too many times. But it has come close enough to disturb me. However the questions have not been answered, instead it has only doubled in number.

What do you say to a person who has lost someone? "I am sorry" seems like a ridiculous thing to say. Especially when it is not in English. Should we just not say anything and ask about other things? But isn't that rude? Then again what's the point of asking about the details isn't it. Sometimes I've realised that people do want to talk about their loss. That's how they get over it. But how do you know if they want to talk about it or not?

One thing is sure though. Death reminds us of our mortality. It tells us we are not invincible after all.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Undoing the Myths

Myths aren't new to any of us. Especially if you have grown up in an environment full of grand parents and the such who can conjure up stories to entertain, teach and just to keep you out of their hair. They can tell you stories of every kind gods, demons, good, evil, stupid, intelligent, just fun - every kind. I am not about to undo any of those. They were fun stories. I am talking about the kind you and I conditioned are to believe through out our lives and then suddenly one day it occurs "Hey that's not true"
Myth #1>
Women spend too much time shopping - Absolutely baseless.
Try this. I went shopping with this guy once, who wanted a white shirt. We stepped into Commercial Street at 11am on a Saturday morning. At the first shop he looked at every possible shade of white in all brands. Fairly simple choice - Seven shirts, five brands. Did he buy then? No. He just moved on to other shops, looked at the same shirts for next three hours and came back and bought the first white shirt he set his eyes on from the very first shop we stepped into. Exasperation is a gross understatement! Compare that to shopping with a girl friend of mine. She called me up and said she needs to buy some white top. We went to Cool Club in Chennai, bought one and were back at the hostel in flat 2 hours (which included travel time in peak traffic hour).
Myth #2>
Women spend too much money on clothes, shoes and everything - Oh Please!
Yes girls do buy a lot of clothes. That's because the love dressing up and they have so many things to try out compared to men's wonderfully boring stripes and checks variety of clothes. Same goes with shoes. But that doesn't mean they spend too much. I am not saying it just like that I've got facts for you.]
Woman's wardrobe
Unbranded Jeans that fits her like its made for her (the hunt is not easy let me assure you)- 350/-
Top - 125 -
Shoes - 150/-
Total - 625/-
Man's wardrobe
Levi Jeans (that needs altering and is ironed every time!!!) - 1200/- (I am sure its more than this)
Lacoste T-Shirt - 500/- (If he's buying a shirt then minimum price is 545/-)
Woodlands/ Red tape shoes - at the least 1800/-
Total - 3500/-
You do the math.
Myth #3>
Women gossip too much - Yeah right!
So it is the women who have created Page 3 eh?
Myth #4>
Women cannot save - Ha ha ha.
You will be astounded by the amount women manage to save. Even when they do not have bank accounts or mutual fund advices.
Myth 5>
Women are pathetic at sports - Phrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrttttttttttttttttt
Men aren't exactly fantabulous in our country are they? How do you explain just one world cup victory in Cricket. For men have been playing this game for what about 80 years now? Not to forget we have not even qualified for the foot ball world cup. I would like to certainly add that although women took to sports much later we will still beat you soon. And we didn't take to sports late because we were not physically capable (as one of my classmates once suggested. He said to me 'women aren't biologically made to play cricket!' Sometimes I wonder why I didn't kill him then) but because of men. Pl. don't get me started on that. You will regret it.
So there I've said it. Pl. feel free to add to the list or undo my undoings.
Sincerely Yours

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Puzzles of life.

When does cynicism set in, in one's life? At what age? Under what circumstances? How far will a person carry the resentment and bitterness of an unhappy childhood, a betrayal and failures? And how long? I have never understood this cynicism, this bitterness that makes an individual hate everyone and everything including oneself.

Sure, I've gone through betrayal more than once. Feeling let down is not alien to me. I've hated someone or something with all my heart at one point or the other. But soon the realisation dawned that hating someone or something would take more effort and more space in my life than just moving on. I have just this one life why should I waste it over people or things that aren't helping my cause? Whatever the cause.

The disappointment, the anger, the frustration does take over at times but isn't life worth figuring a way out of it? As long as you live there will be unhappy situations to face and unsavoury people who will walk in to your life. But is resentment the answer? The bitterness, the hatred - what good does that do to the one's you love or even yourself? Is it worth living a life time being unhappy? Do such people realise how difficult they are making their own lives and others around them?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Not just in India eh?

There's a report written by Associated Press writer that says how FEMA (Fedral Emergency Management Agency) of the Big Brother aka USA has managed to use the Hurricane Katrina & Rita funds for everything but relief.

"The government doled out as much as $1.4 billion in bogus assistance to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, getting hoodwinked to pay for season football tickets, a tropical vacation and even a divorce lawyer, congressional investigators have found."

Next time one of us looks longingly into the map of USA or a hollywood film and say "you know only India is soooo corrupt, in America and all its all very good" should think about this story.

And any of the Phirang junta who walks into India (or sits in his own country) and say how our illiterate junta is being looted by sometimes equally illiterate and very literate politicians, should look at the things happening in their own country.

There's a saying in Kannada that goes "ellara mane dosenU toote!" which means it doesn't matter who makes the dosa there will be holes in it.

Moral of the story: Developed or Developing every country has its share of corruption. It is after all matter of kurchi and kaasu!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mangalyam tantunaanena...

This is the beginning of sacred mantra that is chanted during a marriage ceremony. It is chanted when the groom is tying the sacred mangalasutra around the bride’s neck, an act that seals the deal. If you are married you will know it. Actually even otherwise you will know it thanks to our philums. But do all of us know what it means? Well, I didn't know till today (!!!) This is the only mantra the poojari did not explain in the whole wedding process. (seriously, he was testing is English proficiency by explaining all the mantras to us while we were trying to concentrate on the fact that it is actually happening to the two of us in front of at least 400 people!) Coming back to the subject, the mantra goes like this "mAngalyam tantunAnena mama jIvanA hethunA kaNThe: badhnami subhahe! sanjIva Sarada: Satam" (pardon the ignorance if it isn’t accurate to the T, I am reproducing it here based on my auditory memory). Apparently it means "This is a sacred thread. This is essential for my long life. I tie this around your neck, O maiden having many auspicious attributes! May you live happily for a hundred years (with me)."

I am not sure how accurate this translation is, but this is explanation is widely accepted. Now what strikes me the most of this very sacred mantra is that it says "this sacred thread is essential for my long life" That is the bride groom's long life! And since you (the bride) have special attributes to keep me alive and prosperous I wish that you live for a hundred years with me. Very interesting indeed.

This was probably written to mean that "a man cannot live his life without a woman" And so they need to be united in a sacred (?!?) bond. But in today's context and after years of living in man's world it comes across as very selfish statement to me. It comes across as if a man needs woman ONLY because she can give him a long and happy life. Doesn't it?

I am suddenly interested in Vedas...I want to know read the scriptures to see what is actually written and how it has been interpreted or misinterpreted by Man.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Just realised that the previous post was more than 500 words and when I am writing a report I take about two days to put in so many words!

Flavour the season.

What else but Football. I mean a bunch of football enthusiasts in a remote village in Assam have bought a colour TV for the village to watch the world cup and lo behold Brazil is their super favourite. Why should I be left behind? However I have to confess that I come from the family of Cricket crazy (surprise surprise). I am used to staying up late and listening to radio commentary and in later years fight with my mother to let us watch cricket instead of buniyaad and tea time matinee (yeah yeah yeah I am not from your cable tv generation I've seen black & white television and used radio for infotainment even before that word was coined). I watched every single match even ranji and our local gully tournament in my days. I lost all interest in it later over the match fixing controversy.

Football I knew very well. Not because I watched the game but because studied it for my Physical Education exams. Yes, I had a mad teacher who insisted we learn the rules of all games possible. The fact that both my parents were obsessed with sports didn't help either. Let me clarify that my mother later traded it for soap operas and tear jerkers (I seriously dunno why though). Coming back (!!!!!) Football I knew well but didn't follow too much of it. But all that changed during the last world cup. It wasn't a football crazy boyfriend or a wild football crazy friend's party that changed it all but my job. I was at the time beginning to be a journo and the only job my news editor trusted me with updating the ticker for the news channel I worked for. So it was my duty to run across two hallways avoiding the hurricane of producers running in the opposite direction, make a steep right turn bang into the chair on the left (every single time) and update breaking news. So when world cup started I had to keep track of the games and update the ticker. And I fell in love with the game. Ronaldinho stole my heart with that back flip goal of his. I nearly cried when he got the yellow card (or was it red?). And the excitement it caused in the otherwise mundane office life of ours was just mind blowing. The hurricane of producers running against me would stop for a second to ask "goal? Who hit?" and get back feeling a little better about their lives. It changed my life. It brought back sports into my life, after the exit of Cricket. And Now I watch all matches irrespective of who is playing and whether or not the players look hot. (pssssst all of them look hot btw)

Now the world cup is back. I actually am wishing I was in Bengal, Kerala or even Arunachal Pradesh where they go openly mad about this game and wouldn't mind a madcap woman losing it in public. I've done it Arunachal with a bunch of Monpa women for company for an inter-district game!

Any one for football party anywhere please let me join you. I will even tolerate the beer but please let’s see some excitement for the master's game. Lets put up large screens, paint (y)our faces and pay our respects.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Blogged me away

Look what I found - Blogswara! Yeah yeah you read it right its music on blog!
For more details go to

I don't have time to put in my thoughts about it right now cos the power is gone and the UPS driving me nuts with all the more later for now enjoy the music.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I am not the only one.

I had written about sexual innuendos in advertisements sometime back. Looks like there are many others too, who aren't happy about it.

go-go boots!

Here's the pic of go-go boots I was referring to in my earlier post. I tried very hard but couldn't find one in bright pink. May be all of it is taken by Bollywood :-) Thanks S.