Thursday, October 23, 2008

Depiction of Women in Indian Television Commercials! Counter Argument!

An article in today's Asian age has induced me into posting my view. I felt this article (Read it here) by Rai Umaraopati Ray holds true when we see it from one side. However the writer fails to explore the other side and justice is left unserved.
In a nut-shell the writers view- The author continuously talks about how Indian television Commercials are enforcing us to think and follow stereotypical ideologies that are complete passe for the new India incl. Particularly, the whole article stresses on the point of showcasing women in each and every Ad merely as an object for sex appeal. Women are portrayed in a way that they seem to have no life and love if they are not beautiful, gorgeous and fair. Women are showcased as nothing but playing second fiddle to men. An example cited by the author is that of the life insurance ads which show men undertaking life insurance so that their wife's, mothers, daughters are taken care of in case of their deaths. Which according to the author shows that women are incapable of earning for themselves and is indirectly exploiting the Indian women as a weaker sex.
With due respect to the above article here are some of my counter arguments:-
1] Jo Bikta hai woh Dikhta hai theory- Firstly, a lot of research goes in before deciding the appeal for an ad. A correct appeal needs to be chosen before the story board stage appears. This generally depends on consumer surveys where people are asked various open ended and close ended questions inclusing what kind of theme appeals them. The salient features of the product are then woven in a story-line on the lines of these popular themes. And yes most of the time sex and attraction win hands down. So we see a lot of products with no direct connection to sex or attraction exploring them as their central themes. Say for example, Must chips. Where the lady news reader does all kind of strange erotic lewd tactics to convince you that Must chips are really the chips for you. Clearly, you may feel what is the relation of chips and sex. But yes, their target audience is clearly the younger attraction driven crowd between the age of 18-35 years. And this appeals to them. Television is not a piece of cake, the Big Bosses know whats gonna sell and whats not. Everybody is here to ultimately sell the products and hence they have to cater to what people like to see. And that's exactly why jo bikta hai woh dikta hai!!!!!!
2] Pragmatic Approach- My second argument is in continuation with my first, ad makers are not here to make charity or do public service. They are here to sell their clients products and if this is what it takes to do the same then why not. An ad should not only be entertaining but it should be convincing enough to grab you out of your seat and make you go to the market and actually buy the product. All of us remember the famous award winning Fevi-Kwick ad where a fisherman looses to a localite who uses fevi kiwck to get fishes from the water. Now the concept is excellently executed but are you convinced that it is going to have the same impact on Viewer. Is it going to transition the viewer to a prospective buyer and then to an actual buyer. I really doubt the possibility. Now take the axe chocolate ad, my male readers I am sure you will agree that you are tempted by the fact that Girls love chocolate and putting chocolate deo is surely going to lure girls to come around you. Now the USP of axe is sex and attraction appeal. Hence they have tired to portray women going crazy behind men who use axe as that actually triggers a connection with the Consumer Male mind and prompts him into buying the product.
3] The ultimate decision-makers- Whether my male readers agree of not, most of the times the decision makers for them whether directly or indirectly are females. You go to buy a shirt you will think 10 times how you will look in it. That means you will give a thought to what my Girlfriend, my female colleague, my female boss etc will say about it and eventually how it will present me in front of the fairer sex. What does the Raymonds Ad show ? It shows the woman actually feeling your fabric and thinking you are a man of substance and style because you wear Raymonds right! The advertisers try to pick up your fantasies and put them in a 30, 60 or 80 seconds mini-film so you realise that a particular product will fulfill your fantasy. And this leds to you ending up buying it!
Another example is the infamous Amul Macho Ad, where the women in question is amused at Monkeys wearing these underwears and indulging into strange activities. Personally I feel this is the most vulgar ad I have come across in my 25 years of life and I don't understand why PETA has not taken any action? But returning back to our point of argument, Men buy underwear which will attract the female attention. Hence indirectly it is the choice of his female partner that prompts him to buy a certain brand. That is exactly why a women are always shown in almost all ads that involve Male undergarments. Most of the decision form FMCG products to expensive luxury segment of cars are taken by Women though the money for it might be provided by Men. But the ultimate-decision maker is the women and this goddess has to be appeased. Hence Most of the ads from pens to laptops have Women in them.
4] Sorry depiction of women- Women are no longer shown just house makers- or lalithaji's who have no work but to bear the brunt of their dominant working husband and wash his clothes clean white so that he can impress his boss. They are depicted as confident career minded women who have a determination to condense their dream to realities. The ad of an insurance brand where the working girl gifts her dad a car or for that matter the parachute ad which shows a series of women acheivers saying" Sirf khubsurat nahi Mai Majboot hoon. Hann Mai kuch hoon" is very appealing. Then the new Scooty pep ad which shows the young girl learning the Scooty on her own without the help of her brothers shows her as a very independent new age Indian girl.
There are many such examples. Hence, I don't completely agree with the writer of the above mentioned article as I think everything in the popular culture comes with a reason and with a rhyme! And we cannot have n archaic lop-sided view by ignoring the truth! I have just put my ideas on a larger canvass. I hope you will find something worth redeeming from it! Clearly Women are depicted as a lot more than just an eye candy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

If only...........

If only I could see beyond yesterday,
I see you snuggled up on your lonely bed like an Innocent child with a pillow in your arms

If only I could see beyond yesterday,
I see your face lighting up with a warm smile as unique as yours

If only I could see beyond yesterday,
I still smell the strong essence of your presence in the air around

If only I could see beyond yesterday,
I still see the moonlight from the window peeping in to kiss your charm

If only I could see beyond yesterday,
I still see your beautiful black eyes laced with long lashes battling when reading a book in the dim light of the night lamp

If only I could see beyond yesterday,
I still see sincerity and beauty in the meeting of brow on your forehead

If only I could see beyond yesterday,
I still see the curve of your lips pout for words to pour and an equally beautiful arch when silence prevailed

If only I could see beyond yesterday,
I still can't forget the grip of your strong arms

If only I could see beyond yesterday,
I still see respect in your deep disregard for my love

If only I could see beyond yesterday,
I still am contented because you are away but finally happy now!

If only there was no yesterday,
my world wouldn't have drifted the other way round!

....................By me!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weird but Wonderful!

Strange things keep happening around us! And sometimes we wonder how and why! But we are left with no specific answers! The eccentric nature of the event only leaves us more baffled than perplexed. And you are left in a mental limbo whether to laugh or to continue pondering on it.

One such incident happened today morning. As usual, I was enjoying my morning sunshine walk and was the first to reach the bus stop. My headphones were stuck into my ear buds and I was tuned in to the morning local radio on my MP3. I was dazed and lost in my own reverie when suddenly, out of the blue appeared a man before me. Probabaly in his late forties, he was dressed in rags. But the point of notice was that he looked radiantly healthy for his dwindling financial status. He said something, I couldn't hear because of the song blaring at top volume in my ears. So I removed my earphones and decided to give him a patient hearing and allowing him to have his 30 seconds of fame. As expected he was begging for alms. But what he said next nearly had me drop my jaw in awe. He said in Marathi" Mi ithun chalatach nighaloy" ( I have started to walk from here) and the next line had me stark awake from my wee hour sheepishness. In crystal clear English he impeccably and eloquently blurted out, "Madam, I will be very grateful if you could help me with some money to buy a cup of tea". My eyeballs almost popped out!

The only word I could think of was a big WOW! And I actually said it! Mann I was entirely impressed! He smiled in anticipation acknowledging his success in catching me completely offguard. However, I disappointed the fellow by not giving him any money. I don't believe in providing for people who are healthy and wise enough to fend for themselves. He just made a sad gloomy face and dragged away! Its a personal principle.

I don't know why this educated pauper man was out on the streets begging in the early hours of morning. I kept on thinking about the circumstances that might have prompted him into an insecure and dependant living. But the whole incident left me a little scared, a lot surprised and completely awestruck! Life is strange, isn't it? And this experience was truly weird but wonderful!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I say a little prayer for u!

Aha! Saw my best friends wedding the other day, I am soo in love with this song! Aretha Franklin has written amazing lyrics! Its a bit retro! But it still does rock! I absolutely love this song!

The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you
While combing my hair, now,
And wondering what dress to wear, now,
I say a little prayer for you Forever,
forever, you'll stay in my heart
and I will love you Forever,
forever, we never will part
Oh, how I'll love you
Together, together, that's how it must be
To live without you
Would only be heartbreak for me.

I run for the bus, dear,
While riding I think of us, dear,
I say a little prayer for you.
At work I just take time
And all through my coffee break-time,
I say a little prayer for you.
Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart
and I will love you Forever,
forever we never will part
Oh, how I'll love you
Together, together, that's how it must be
To live without you
Would only be heartbreak for me.

My darling believe me,
For me there is no one
But you.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Today I got this sms from my dear friend Mansi....It was so beautiful that I couldn't avoid the temptation of posting it here.....

Dil ke dard ko chupana kitna mushkil hai
Tut ke phir muskurana kitna mushkil hai
Dur tak jab chalo sath........
To phir tanha laut aana kitna mushkil hai........


Thursday, October 2, 2008


"Sometimes hard times make you immune to your loss! And then the tears fail to show up! It is only an indication that the lesson has been learnt and the sinner has been forgiven but not forgotten"...............Ahem

(I composed the above as a comment on one of the blogs that I read on how the tears disappear but the pain doesnot....I liked the post and my comment too ; )

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Life's Big Lesson in a Small Scoop! 5

De-risking Life.
Have you ever heard of a de-risked business model?
It is a very vital and integral part of doing business intelligently and effectively. I will explain you: De-risking business means you have business spread across many verticals, sectors, customers, geographies and products. It means that business is diversified and doesn't depend on any one of the above elements entirely for its functioning. This helps in eliminating the risk of drawing losses if any one of them fails. That means that the impact of loss is negligible as we still have other verticals, sectors, customers, geographies and products which continue generating profits.
The other day over a business lunch we were discussing how one of our acquaintances lost all his money in Lehman Brothers fall. I had commented at that time that if he had planned his investments in a way that he was not entirely dependant on one Bank for his savings and he would have distributed it against the other banks as well, he would have marginalised his losses. At that moment I could clearly visualise a parallel between Business and life.
Allow me to explain, first and foremost the above example clearly explains we should not restrict our core dependencies to one aspect. i.e. Our life should not be dependant on any one person, one activity or one interest in any way.
For example, when you are so head over heels in love that you eventually sideline other people who have contributed towards your life. Excessive dependence on this love of your life, makes him callous and he starts taking you for granted. This might lead to his ignoring you and you may loose your self-worth. Most of these lop-sided love stories often crumble in to a break-up.
At that time you need people who understand around you but in your quest towards getting love you have lost their respect. Hence, if you have a person-centric attitude, your whole world revolves round that person and if he leaves you, your life crashes like sensex in a bear market. If you are surrounded by friends and family and you do not have emotional dependence on just one single person, then your loss is absorbed easily as time passes and you are back to your cheerful self in matter of few days.
Another example is that of an activity that you might love enjoying. If we go by the dictum of Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility, everything that we do brings about a diminished sense of satisfaction. That means if you love indulging in dance, you might get bored of it after sometime. So, to fill your time you resort to something like playing Chess but that doesn't please you much coz you love only dancing. Lets assume becoz of a fractured knee you cannot dance. Then you wish you had practised an inclination towards something else also so that would filled the void at this time
From these two examples, I am trying to propagate the ideology of living to the fullest. Life is too short to be spent depending on a few persons or interests. You should open your heart to meeting new people and learning new things and enjoying when at it. A de-risked model of life brings about fulfillment, confidence, joy, learning and has a reduced impact when you collide with physical, emotional and financial loss as it gets distributed. You need your shock absorbers when you are heavily dependant on shock givers!
The more you clutch on to things, the more you make other persons and other things indespensible, the more you give the control panel of your life in others hand. Drive your own life don't be driven by external elements. Trust me this might be the missing link between you and your happiness!
Try it! Works Wonders!!!!