Friday, May 21, 2010

Owner, Lord and Master!!!

ToW and I go back a long way. We studied together and were real close friends, bunked classes together, job hunted together, before I got enough courage to pop the question. Damn woman gave me a matter of fact yes, and a look which meant IDIOT why did you waste such a lot of time!

Anyway she refers to be my name (most times in a very hey you kind of manner), and me being GenX ultra cool dude is totally fine with it.

The other day when our trusty maid was not in, she had organized for a temp maid to take care of sweep, swab and dishes. The woman knew only chaste Kannada and at best both our Kannada can be described as dumb charades with a few words thrown in (most of them in English & Hindi), though we understand it ok if spoken slowly.

Our regular maid very familiar with our hand waving, facial expression Kannada understands all we say, including things like how many whistles the cooker has to do, what amount of fabric softener and detergent to use etc.

The new lady was a tough nut and she her Kannada was pure and chaste not influenced by Hindi or English.

ToW: (very hopefully) Tamil? (Accompanied by a lot of hand waving and eyebrow raising)

Maid: Bewildered look and nodding and shaking of head simultaneously and looks piteously at regular maid.

Regular maid: No madam, but she can speak good Telugu. (Translating look correctly and armed with prior information.)

ToW: Giving her regular maid exasperated look and wave of hand (Translated, you know if I have to talk Telugu, it will have to be with no lip movements only wild facial expressions and severe hand movements).

Any case regular maid says, madam only two days I have told her what to do. You just smile and say hi and bye.

Day 1 was smooth. Day 2 dawned ominously with maid coming in late, giving heart burn to the poor ToW. Damn woman, she misses the maids more than she misses her husband.

Now ToW wanted to tell her she is going out, please stay and finish the work by which time, my husband will be back and you can go. The dance drama begins watched by an awe struck SnH. The more eloquent ToW gets the more confused the maid gets. SnH collapses in giggles and rolls on the sofa, ignoring dangerous looks from his mother.

The maid understands she has to wait but for what and whom is still a mystery. She would have told Vladimir and Estragon, at least you know you the wait is for Godot, but look at me!

Finally Eureka moment arrives; ToW drags SnH and says Appa and does complicated Bhartnatyam steps to convey wait till. Now bulb glows and maid says madam you should have said Yajmanru and then done your dance bit for wait till and I would have understood!

ToW`s lower jaw dropped to the floor.

Later SnH related this to me, of course he just talked about how ToW did the dance and he enacted her expressions! ToW then told me the whole story.

My only query was that, if I am your Yajmanru - roughly translated owner/lord/master - then why don`t I get better service round here!
Next time round come running when I snap my fingers.

Thank God! They make pillows soft, or I would have had a fractured skull!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Sound of Brands

Have you ever seen babies turn their heads to jingles on TV or radio. The SnH used to crawl at 100kmph to watch his favourite ad. My nephew used to sit patiently on his grand mom`s lap till the title song of his favourite mythological serial, crawl away and would promptly come back to hear it play again during end credits. During the DoCoMo launch days we used to have singing competitions between your truly, SnH and ToW (Ahem! ok Braying from my side).

The Sound byte takes the place of a logo sign off in visual communications. Where sound scores over sight is that the person listening could be concentrating on some other activity. The sound reaches him and his brain records and associates the brand/product.

The earliest sound branding in India, I guess, would be All India Radio’s start up tune. Risking the fact that everyone will realise how ancient I am, remember the startup tune to Doordarshan? These I don’t think were conscious branding decisions, but standard tunes. The first one at least in my memory was Britannia. They have maintained the sound byte even after the rebranding exercise. The instrument Ting tingta Ting was changed to a vocal one.

The Airtel A.R. Rahman tune is one which every AirTel user has had on his mobile at some point of time. The same goes for the Nokia tune. Intel`s Sound bit has been expanded in all their ads, Britannia again takes first place in that. Remember the commercials in which the kid says ting Tingta ting. (Sorry am lazy to hunt all those video links).

The Liril Bathing beauty tune was as easily recognisable as the Beauty. Liril continued using the voice byte even after the model changed. Any of the common jingles were all sound branding examples. These were never conscious branding decisions but did the job nevertheless.

Both the Korean giants Samsung and LG have gotten on to the signature Brand Tune, though the consistency of use is not there.

There is a host of subliminal level applications of brand sound bytes, like embedding them in other places. That would be another post...

The human brain can perceive and distinguish five senses - sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Sight has been used extensively by marketers. Now sound has been explored. What about smell the most primal of senses. Couldn't brands exploit the smell - what is the smell you associate with your favourite brand of shirt. Does tea Rose or lavender evoke the memory of a long lost girl friend or your courtship days. It does! Now you know what I am talking about. What does your favourite airline smell like, or what smell do you associate with Indian railways ;-)

From smell to touch and taste is just a tiny step.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Immortalising the Immortals

Sometime near the end of Februaryduring one of my very critical purposeless browsing, happened to see a promo on YouTube. Extremely slick video, fabulous music had me interested, and was surprised it was for a book by an Indian author. Cool Marketing effort.

The first chapter available for free download had me hooked. Incidentally, another great marketing idea. Was traveling beginning of March and had made a mental note to pick it up at first available opportunity. And Lo! The Other Woman had got it for me with a nice little inscription. That woman is still wonderful after 10 years! Once again congratulated myself on my prize catch! (Sorry, I digress!)

Having a more than passing interest in mythology, myth, folklore etc The Immortals of Meluha was an excellent read and was everything its promo promised. The book tends to lag at a few places, but quickly comes back to its fast pace. The research gone into the book is truly amazing, the author has studied the Indus Valley and related civilizations and has gone in-depth into mythology. The book essentially sticks to the broader positioning of character as per the Puranas but gives newer interpretation to their roles and also moves them up and down chronologically. Essentially the author has taken the vast canvas of Hindu Mythology and has created his own very very interesting flow and explanations.

The author has interwoven small interesting details which readers with a little bit of knowledge in the Puranas will find interesting. Churners at the bottom of Mt. Mandar,Daksha`s Goat Amulet are a couple of these. I would love to see how the author brings in Daksha`s ill fated Yaga/Yagna. Veerabhadra is all ready for his entry, Is Krittika going to be BhadraKali? On a historic level, is he going to give an explanation for the seals of the Indus valley particularly Pasupathi - which is the earliest link to Siva or Siva like Image in History. These and many more interesting points make me impatient to see Parts II and III.

I presume Part II will be out in a year and Part III a year after that. Do sales really justify a year long wait? Reportedly The Harry Potter series did justify the wait. But, what about Eragon, The Trilogy got extended to a fourth, did I miss it don`t know.. Anyway AT, his promoters and publishers have done an excellent job in launching the book. Cool Marketing effort. It better be, after all he heads the marketing of a large Financial company!

Meluha in ancient India is searching for its savior, as they believe; their neighbors in Swadweep are out to destroy them and their way of life. Meluha reminded me of Atlantis, with their utopian ideals and everlasting youth potions (Somras). The savior called `Mahadev' can be recognized, by his neck colour, which will turn deep blue on drinking Somras. The story moves on with Shiva being declared the Mahadev, his attraction to Sati the Emperor Daksha`s daughter, the very contemporary terrorist attacks all culminating in a grand battle.

The ending is a big let down. Why, Oh Why! Did it have to end like a cheap serial novel! A quick reading of the closing used by Rowling and Tolkien may help for Book II. Both R and T leave the reader in suspense WITHOUT a feeling of work unfinished or any abruptness. The book ends as if the author`s computer ran out of disk space or he ran out of ink!

Amish Tripathi is no Tolkien (as yet) But Yes now there is an Indian writer willing to play around with our rich and vibrant mythological characters and weave them into a whole new puranic Web.

A must read in my list.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Also-ran`s

They are there everywhere
Seen by all
Remembered by none
The race is dull without them
The race leaves an ache in them

Nike`s favour
sought by all
got by some
yearned for by many

Is it luck, fate, timing
Blessings from Heaven
which pushes some on the highroad
and others down mud tracks

Victoria`s blessed
Stand to attention
The stray strain of anthems
Break heartstrings of the also-ran`s

Monday, March 15, 2010


An Insignificant Nothing
In return for everything
A faint touch, a tear
In return for all the warmth

Time ravaged you physically
Time filled you in my heart
You have gone away, Yet
You stay with me, always

A debtor I remain
A debtor I want to be
For how can I return
The Joy,The Comfort... The Love

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Murphy`s Favourite

The Dice Rolls
The Coin Turns
The straw Pulled
Probability Rules

Bovine Crap says Murphy
If Probability is King,
Murphy is the Emperor
Guess Who tops, Murphy`s Hate list!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The years have flown
How you have grown

A li'l speck on screen
Then a lil bump
kicking when I am near
Itching Amma`s belly

Racing to see you
Across forests and mountains
Right next to the Sea
My li'l Baby!

Exasperating, Incorrigible
Lovable, Huggable
You are all of that
You were a Baby, You are a Boy

Happy Birthday, August

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Every Hurdle you jump,
Every Hole you clear,
Every Pit you avoid,
Another takes its place.

The rainbow Waning & Waxing
Mocks my quest
For the pot of gold
So near yet so far

No answers from Time
More questions posed
Labyrinth of life
Within Minotaur waits

Here you are, sweet Ariadne!
Is that the clew?
And there is the sword.
It`s Time - For emerging Victorious!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Miss You, Girish Puthenchery

Hearing his words
Humming his lines
Joining in chorus
Never realising, It was him.... always

Now, missing him when he is gone
Good Bye, Girish!

Anuraagam Meetum Gandharvanu Pranamam....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Pets taken over by Pleo
Books taken over by Kindle
Fingers taken over by Blackberry
Kids taken over by Careers

Love taken over by Lust
Sex taken over by Sleep
Life taken over by Existence
Right taken over by Wrong

Friday, February 5, 2010

Teaching the Yanks a thing or two

I love The IPL. As an average Indian somewhere somehow cricket is a part of some yet to be identified strand of DNA in some chromosome in my body.
My Love for IPL springs not just from this gene but from the gene which gave me love for marketing.

Till the IPL juggernaut rolled the Yanks had claim for best effort in sport marketing, starting from concept selling, to endorsing merchandising they had done it all. Imagine getting a few clubs together and calling it the World Series. Yeah! the world lies in between the Pacific and the Atlantic stretching from coast to coast!! Include the Canadians, Mexicans and a few other Hispanics and we should be thankful they didn't start a Universe Series.

IPL, did not need the world prefix, Indian premier League was sufficient, the world comes to play here. Does the world see it on TV who knows and cares. The Indian TRP`s are itself mindboggling. Create some teams with filthy rich owners, throw in a few short skirts, the best of talent, loads of money and IPL is born.

Teams with less than creative names 2 kings, 2 claiming royal lineage, a knight, a war horse,a daredevil and a plain simple Indian combined together in bright colours. It was Bollywood meets India Fashion week meets cricket.

Boy was it packaged well, the models the starlets, the star owners it was one fancy Ramlila maidan after another across India. It was equally good as the bandwagon rolled to South Africa.

They threw Gandhiji out of a railway carriage we threw their whole world out of orbit. Blawdy Hell! Am told the whole country is still walking dazed. Imagine a stadium full of banners, hoardings and boards all advertising products which are not available and which in the near future will never be available in their super markets. All for a billion lying across the globe!

It was all about creating a product which caters to virtually everybody, the cricket lover, the sport lover, the fashion lover, the gossip lover, the voyeur. Package it all with bright colours and fireworks, reach the length and breadth of the nation and demand your price.
Voila! You have a Winner.

Yeah! IPL may have been waiting to happen, but we caught it by the scruff of its neck and made it happen. The yanks could never take their world series outside the US and expect to survive. They don't even dare to take it to Canada. IPL went to South Africa and is back here saying Hi! Missed you India!

That is what I call the power of a billion.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Crawling through slime
Plodding through sand
Rocks and brambles tearing the soul
Thirst burns, Lungs yearn, eyes seek.

Is it Light
Am I feeling air
Is that the proverbial Silver Lining
Heart beats faster

Will the dice fall this time
Is it Pausupathi with Pasupathasatra
or is it a common tribal hunter
Fate is it a Mirage

Time I await your reply....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Mesmerising Kaleidoscopic Palace

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni-CBD (Its too difficult typing out her small name with two long unhyphenated surnames) and I got off to a bad first date, not her problem nor was it mine. I first saw a CBD with a girl, whom I considered to be the intellectual equivalent of a medium size gnat. Hence CBD and I got off on the wrong foot.

This combined with Aishwarya Rai Bachhan (oh another Double surname. What’s with these women.....? let me not digress, that’s matter for another post) starring in Mistress Of Spice had me convinced its best I stay away from CBD. I had read a couple of her books Vine of Desire, Sister of My heart, Mistress of Spice - to be honest did not dislike her but my early prejudice prevented my complete enjoyment of her writing.

Palace Of Illusions shattered my prejudice.

I have been exposed to The Mahabharata at various stages of my life. My first experience was when Muthassan (Me Gran-Dad) got all of us noisy cousins around his armchair and gave us the story like a TV serial one hour everyday all from memory. He successfully got a bunch of unruly kids to be on their best behaviour for half the summer vacation!

My next tryst with the epic was C.Rajagopalachari`s Childrenss Mahabharata. Loved it and reread it many times, even after growing a moustache and learning to shave. During this time MaliBharatham by Mali a children’s writer in Malayalam. (Loved him when I was kid, thanks Dad for introducing Mali to me and for giving me this love for books and reading.) Not to forget the miserable Hindi Non detail text in Std VIII. (I hated it). Oh Amar Chitra Katha`s were a constant companion, borrowed from friends and libraries and begged from my thrifty folks.

I grew up and read more versions of The Mahabharata, numerous to be named. Read interpretations of the Mahabharatha like MT Vasudevan Nair’s Randaam Oozham (Translated from Malayalam - Second Turn ) Mahabharatha from Bheema`s perspective (TOW loves this), Bharatha Paryadanam - Kutti Krishna Marar (A Treatise of Mahabharata in Malayalam) and Shashi Tharoor`s The Great Indian Novel (Not too bad, very well researched).

And then landed Palace of Illusions from TOW`s book buying spree. Three Oh`s followed in quick succession. A pleasing Oh! after seeing the well designed cover page, a disappointed Oh! after seeing the author and finally an interested Oh! after reading the back page. Took up the book as nothing else was available and did not put it down till I reached the end.

For a book which has no suspense and whose plots are sub plots are well known it was amazing that I found it un-put-downable.

All the old characters were there but they had a different sheen. Draupadi was brilliant through out. Bhima and Draupadi relationship thought inspiring. Was CBD`s Dhirthrashta influenced by B R Chopra and DD. Bhishma had shades of the Chopra influence. Shikandi and karna too characters who have been brushed aside one as a eunuch and the other as a luckless bastard take on a diffrent hue. Kunthi turns from a helpless widow to a sharp and conspiring woman.

All in all BRILLIANT. Go read it.

I am with The Pregnant King and he or is it she will soon feature here. The palace got me so hooked on, that when I saw the King I had to have him/her then and there. So far money well spent.

P.S I had planned this post earlier and seem to have lost steam midways. apologies