Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Another one of my ads blogs

 The SBI campaign. Everyone’s going ga-ga about the Chimanlal Charlie ad and the papad belna ads. I agree that the ads have been executed well (slick, and quite funny, especially the name Chimanlal Charlie) but their entire campaign revolves around hedging bets on what SBI does and doesn’t do. This sounds like the entire country right now has nothing better to but place bets on what SBI offers – be it around the locker room, or across a pub sharing a beer… Their original campaign (the hoarding one) revolved around ‘Surprisingly, SBI,’which acknowledges that most people don’t know how broad their network is and how many accounts they have and what they offer. So suddenly in the second stage they assume that there are so many knowledgable people out there who are actually placing and winning bets on what SBI does… Weird. Plus, I think ‘SBI. Surprised?’ works better than ‘Surprisingly SBI’. That said, the ad for SBI Insurance where the two elderly sisters undertake a long train journey to go meet their brother Chhotu on his birthday is very sweet. It celebrates the fact that you may get older but that doesn't mean you have to give up on your dreams. You can still do the things you did when you were younger. I had said on this blog some time ago when I saw an ad for diamonds, about an elderly man gifting his wife a diamond. When she resists, saying she is too old for it, the man says, 'how does the diamond know your age?'

 I like the tea ad (I think Wagh Bakri) where a girl and boy are locked in a room (arranged marriage scenario) and the girl announces that she’s not interested in an arranged match. So in a sweet little twist, it’s the boy who serves her tea and seduces her senses (smell, taste, look) and the two engage in a sweet tease play (of course to the eavesdroppers it sounds like something else). Nice. Makes the Tina Munim-Rajesh Khanna number (‘shaayad meri shaadi…. Chai pe bulaya hai’) quite redundant. Soon the boy will be inviting just the girl over and in the metros he’ll be this living alone type who will be well-versed with the kitchen and will serve her tea. What fun! I personally love guys who can cook. I think it’s fantastic. Can’t imagine that there are still guys out there who can’t turn on the stove, just like I can’t imagine women who don’t know how to drive. Hate to be that dependent.

 Where is my favourite Fastrack ‘orgasm’ ad disappeared to? Hey you guys, put it back on or come out with something better. That reminds me I think the Aamir Titan ad (buying a gift for his mom which the girl in the shop thinks is for her) is again quite cool. Why do celebs have to be pillars of virtue and goodness in real life? They don’t. They can be normal.

 Can’t decide if I like Aamir’s Innova ad. I like the soundtrack and it’s nice to see all the different Aamirs interacting with each other. It also drives home the point that this guy takes so much care to build a distinctive look for each movie (and this is pre-DCH days) that you can actually look at him and know in an anstant which movie the character is from. Can you do the same for SRK or Salman? I don’t think so.

 Totally hate that pen ad ‘I’ve got the power’ where Amar Talwar is chairing a board meeting and temporarily loses contorl over his limbs the minute the pen is placed in his hands. He then proceeds to do a stupid jig in the table. These ads should be banned. Pathetic. Just shows how idiotic the ad is; it has overshadowed the brand so heavily that I can’t even remember it.

 There’s something about the Mastercard ad (natkhat saiyan, dushman duniya), the one where the naughty young couple is trying to steal some moments together… I can’t put my finger on it but it makes me smile. Maybe it just endorses the silly stereotype of the madly-in-love couple who can’t get their hands off each other post-marriage… Of course now pre-marital sex isn’t that big an issue (Shhh… shouldn’t say this after what happened to Khushboo).

 The colas haven’t come up with anything brilliant in a long time. Coke’s ‘sar utha ke’ is OK. Doesn’t do anything for me, because I haven’t thrown my head up like that and had a cola from a bottle in years. There are glasses and cans. Plus Mumbai anyway doesn’t have that heat where you just have to have that Coke. On top of which I’ve never been good at glugging Coke without taking a breather. It’ll probably come out of my nose or something. Yuck!

 Tell me if you’ve seen any new, good ads lately. I’d love to dscuss them.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Pillow Talk

Does your pillow talk to you? I know this sounds crazy but I have this relationship with my pillow that's unique. And I've been wanting to write this blog for a few days but after the night I've had yesterday I decided to write this now.
I just can't sleep right without my pillow. Now I have no idea when I adopted this particular pillow but when I got married and moved to another town, I didn't sleep well for a while and somehow I connected this to not having my own pillow. SO the next time I went home I took it with me. Since then the pillow has travelled with me from Delhi to Chandigarh, then back to Delhi and now to Bombay (it's been some six years at least). I keep thinking of having a smaller size copy made, with the same texture and stuffing but I never do it. I wish I had. Last night my pillow was fat and stuffy and I hate those. Mine is thin and hard and as good as not having one. Yet it's there, that's the beauty. Not in your face (pardon the pathetic innuendo) but just close enough to make you feel secure. So you can dream into it, cry into it and just hug it and sleep. It has a nice striped cloth cover and is now even torn in places, but I love it.
Sometimes I wonder what it is. Habit I know. But does it talk to me? Does it absorb some thoughts and ideas and dreams and then play them back to me on another day? Maybe an unfinished dream? Which is why sometimes a dream starts on one day and ends on another? And usually I dream when I sleep at home, on that pillow. The only time I'm able to avoid missing my pillow is when I'm really tired and sleepy and I just lie on the bed and crash.
But really I wonder why it is that my pillow has this hold over me which is what leads me to believe that there's more to my pillow than meet the eye!! It talks to me at night, or maybe I talk to it. And it just stores the info for later use. I've cried into it several times. Because I'm the kind of person who would be crying behind closed doors (in the loo or into my pillow at night, when I do, and that's not too often, thankfully). Is that what makes it special? That's it's only my shoulder to cry on and no one else's? Am I making any sense?

PS: Saw an Argentinian film Beunos Aires 100 kilometres. Average fare.

Go Goa

Remind me next time never ever to think that things can go smoothly when the Government is in charge. Total chaos reigned at IFFi yesterday and at 3 p.m. when we entered we were told that we could not collect our media accreditation passes as the counter had shut at 2! wow, and no one informs us. I even attended the press on in Mumbai and there too this was not mentioned. And if you didn't have your media card you couldn't collect an invite! God alone knows what ingenuity I had to use to get an invite and how the photographer entered is another story. Anyhow, that confusion done, we settled down to two and a half hours of speeches (festival director, Jaipal Reddy, CM of Goa, Dev Anand, Chiranjeevi and then the performances: Amisha Patel, urmila Matondkar, Blaze, Meera, Prachi Shah, Dino More and his leading lady from Holiday and the three girls from Garam Masala plus Himesh Reshamiyya and Hema Sardesai. But the best part of the evening was the two-hour Brazilian film Olga. It left me speechless with a lump in my throat. What fantastic acting. It's based on the true story of a a natural-born German woman Olga Benário Prestes, who falls in love with a Brazilian communist leader Luís Carlos Prestes. In the dictatorship of Vargas (1930-1945) she was arrested and sent to Nazist Germany, where came to death in a concentration camp. The scene where they take her baby away from her because she can no longer breast feed is gut wrenching. Here is a link to the film. More from Goa later! Cheerio

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Finally, airborne

In more ways than one. I've been out of the blogosphere for ages. And there is a reason for it. This is not where I just scribble some random thought. Those can stay in my head. When I put something here I like to be able to have thought out what I want to say and to say it with a coherent flow. I know I haven't found time to do that in months, but I have now. And the blogs have just been bursting in my head.
The first one is this:

Last Monday night I took my first-ever no-frills flight. It was a Spicejet flight from Mumbai to Delhi and I'd paid a measly 5200 bucks for it (return). The take off time was 20.10 and I left Nariman Point at 17.35 in the evening by train to rush back home to Santa Cruz to pick up my suitcase (18.45) and to then battle the peak Mumbai traffic in a cab. Bless the Indica driver, even though he ensured my heart almost came out of my rib cage several times. I have however, learnt to handle the rides in Mumbai with some cabs and autos defying gravity, traffic rules and everything else. Anyway I made it to the airport in good time (19.20) and checked in, only to be told that winter timings applied from that day (Nov 14) and now the flight would go straight to Delhi and not via Ahmedabad. Hence, it would leave at 21.10. Why wasn't I informed or smsed I asked, when Spicejet had actively been smsing me other inane details once I'd registered for this flight a month ago? He smiled sheepishly.
The excitement of a holiday loomed large so I didn't pay it much attention and wandered to the brand new lobby of the Mumbai domestic airport. It looks good with marbo granite flooring and bamboo plants glowing in the skylighting. There is a snazzy cafe from where I grabbed a coffee and a roll before browsing at The Bombay Store and at the bookstores. Finally, we boarded at 20.30 and the flight left on time.
The crowd is a real mix. Without wanting to sound snobbish, I almost feel I am at Nagpur railway station. I don't know why but the elite seems to place a premium on silence and talking in low tones but we, the middle-class, just doesn't care who's listening. So I see families around me, literally shouting out to each other; I hear conversations I'm not interested in, and I basically see the people I haven't seen on a Jet or an Air Sahara, all the while trying to read Outlook's cover on the Volcker report. Once in the flight, I forget I have prebooked a 2F seat for myself, front window seat and sit down in the seat behind, next to an old couple. When I realise my mistake I am loath to disturb them and hence give up my premium seat. The next thing I know, some young girl is shouting out to the couple next to me, 'Mummy, tum Papa ke saah yeh samosa share kar lo'. It's really like a bus ride! I forgot that food is allowed on board. Because when you pay peanuts you get peanuts. So all the airline gives is is peanuts and water. But I'm not complaining. Rather pay less and eat your own food or not eat instead of eating the greasy fare dished out by most airlines. (Air India's flight to London had food far worse than a domestic Air Sahara flight, seriously). I also notice that the instructions are in far greater detail because I think the airline fears it may be a first flight for several people.
The earth looks really pretty at night. Obviously I haven't taken such a late flight in a long, long time. I was wondering if this is what star gazing is to the people who live up in the sky? Because we look up at the stars but when you look down from that height, the lights (yellow and white) from houses and hotels etc look just the same. Like twinkling stars, and I'm thinking 'so this is what reverse star gazing means'.
Anyway it's now 22.30 and the captain announces that we are ready for descent. The flight looks like it's bang on time but soon it's 23.15 and still no sign of landing. The lady in front of me, to whom I graciously and stupidly gave my seat, informs her neighbour when asked, that we are taxying and have left the runway behind (incorrectly of course). Finally we land at 23.30, and a gentleman's mobile rings to everyone's horror. He has to immediately be told to switch it off and an announcement made on the perils of using a cellphone on the flight. I notice an Air Canada flight standing on the runway and wonder what's happening. Then I see large hangars with 'Customs' and 'Import Gate 1' and Export Gate 3' written on them. We have landed at the customs gate in the Indira Gandhi International Airport. I kid you not!
While I know Delhi very well and made out instantly where we were, imagine the plight of the rest! We boarded the bus and started meandering to the domestic airport. Now this ride as you can imagine took nearly 25 minutes and after the first 10 minutes of dignified silence, most people who were quite shocked started giggling and cracking jokes on how we had landed in Jaipur and were being driven back to Delhi. Nobody had ever taken such a long bus ride within an airport terminal.
We finally reached the terminal and the luggage took another 15 minutes to arrive. I reached home at quarter to 1, and the airport is not more than 25 minutes from my house.
The return was via Ahmedabad. At the Delhi airport I felt like a complete outcast because at the entry gate I was shunted to another gate which was only for Air Deccan and Spicejet. I could almost feel this distinction between the haves and the have-nots, made clear in an instant because the haves flashed their tickets to enter whereas the have-nots flashed only white sheets of paper (print outs) instead of tickets. Even the security gate is separate. I walked across to the other side of the airport to use the washroom since the one this side was locked, and the guard immediately stopped me and informed me that the security gate was different. Sheesh!
Anyhow, we boarded. The seats this time were rexine, not even cushioned. So when the hostess held up a cushioned seat to be used for floatation and I noticed our seats weren't even cushioned I seriously began to wonder what would happen in a crash. How high on safety are the no-frill airlines? I don't know. I hope I never have to find out in an adverse way. I was so tired, I nearly slept through the entire flight. We arrived at the correct terminal but again our luggage took ages to come whereas Jet and Sahara flights which landed after us had their luggage delivered faster.
My verdict: If you are not on a hurried business trip and a few minutes delay here and there don't bother you, go ahead and try a no-frills airline. But if you're one of those fidgety, short-tempered people who want premium sevice in everything, please stick to your regular airline because now with check fares the difference isn't that much. Me? I'm quite OK with it, because the price is really good but tomorrow I board a flight for Goa (for work; I know it's a juxtaposition, Goa and work) and I'm kind of happy it's Jet. Looking forward to it actually!!