Sub titles


First there was canned laughter. It prompted us to laugh at appropriate time during a sitcom. So much so that if there was no canned laughter, we didn’t find the prog or the movie funny enough.

Then came the sub titles. All programs have them now. Even the movies on screen at times.

The intention was noble for sure. The accents might be difficult to understand and hence the sub titles. Also it helped popularise English programming. But like canned laughter, there is a fall out.

How many of us, even though we understand the accent completely, also focus on reading the sub titles? My guess would be everybody! If on Netflix or on Prime or any other platform, if there are no sub titles, we switch them on.

The impact of canned laughter and sub titles, to my mind, is huge. We have been dumbed down. We have lost our capacity to think on our own. Everything is a prompt. We can’t function unless we are prompted to do so. We don’t get the joke or the nuances of what is said unless prompted. We expect someone to tell us the sub text of what is happening. We don’t get it on our own.

Zombies all of us. Lost of capacity to think and appreciate 🙂

Keeping up


It has really been a long long time that I have posted every day of the week. So I figured, let’s make this 5 days in a row.

As the title suggests, it is tough keeping up.

Keeping up with the way the world is changing (yeah yeah am getting old).

It’s tough keeping up with things that matter.

It’s tough keeping up with people who don’t matter.

It’s tough keeping up with expectations – your own and of the others.

It’s tough keeping up with societal mores (increasingly these mores are leading to stress in lives of many people).

What is our aim in life? It’s a serious question.

Strip yourself off the predictable answers about success at work and in relationships and then ponder over the question.

Strip away the usual answers that come to your head about being human or larger good. Strip away answers that come to your head that sound politically correct.

What have you got left? Nothing.

So why are you keeping up with everything that doesn’t really matter in your life? Why are you putting up a facade?

Isn’t it time you really gave it some thought.

The chill pill


48724-Chill-Pill

We all need to take one… seriously. and yes most should choke on it!

There needs to be activism against activism. Nowadays anything and everything is up for bashing… be it in newspapers, TV or social media. We all have a voice and it isn’t a voice for good. We all believe it is but is not. We find everything offensive and hurting our sentiments.

The Ola commercial for instance. Sexist?! utter rubbish. It is sexist in your head. It is sexist in your warped thinking. It was just an ad. It made a point and it is gone but no… we have to bash the advertising and the brand for what really is the truth… We as guys do spend a lot of money on dates and stuff.. don’t we? So what is wrong if the advertising depicted that? or is that the truth is bitter?

Take IPL as another example… seriously! Doesn’t the judiciary have better things to do than to adjudicate such frivolous PILs? Most PILs are motivated or rigged anyway. I want to ask the judges who passed the order… are you getting your cars washed everyday? Where is the water coming from? Those fancy apartments and bungalows you live in… are they using water to keeping the house clean?

Then there was this shit about Uber and Ola surge pricing. People complained the first day when surge pricing was high.. and they complained the next day when there weren’t enough cars available! Well dude and dudette… you should have thought hard before complaining the first day..

We love to complain and now that social media gives everyone a voice.. we are vociferous in our complains…. if it rains.. “damn it rained so much that i got late for everything” if it doesn’t rain, “the weather is so hot… there are power cuts.. i could not sleep!” If it is cold, it is too cold… if it is not, we crib about winter not being cold enough…

Then the JNU shit or every other shit that keeps happening and we keep giving our opinion. Where do we all get the time for all of this. And how are we invested in everything that happens?! And please do not say that we have to bring a change in this country. The country is doing just fine and it will do even better if we stopped objecting to everything that happens.

Before we ask for changes… before we question the government… before we question every decision that is taken.. before we file frivolous PILs… before we decide to change the name of a city… we need to ask ourselves as to what we are doing that can be considered constructive and will lead to a better life for everyone. Do you think that being part of a debate just so that we have likes and retweets or whatever will help change the world? You are delusional if you think so.

But since activism is the in thing, I want to start a movement against all such useless debates… anyone wants to join?

 

Dad Bod!


So I have cancelled my Gym membership.

Had Chole Bhature for breakfast.

Lunch should be curry from Kareem’s (more oil than curry)

Few beers and fried fish to round off the day

Finally I don’t have to worry about the little paunch that I have (ok so I think it is LITTLE).

Going by the articles I have read about Dad Bods, I fit in so well to that description of Dad Bod – “A nice balance between beer gut and working out” So I can stop spending money on gym and all the trappings which come with it.

Ok just kidding.. am not gonna do any of that. As always the internet frenzy has latched on to another topic. Not driven by any brand (as yet or maybe after the discussion reaches a certain point, a brand will be revealed as the one who engineered the discussion), Dad Bod is a perfect male version of “the real woman” ïnner beauty”etc etc. which some brands keep talking about. If women don’t have to keep themselves lean (am saying lean and not thin), they don’t have to put on make up to look good and everything that showcases the inner beauty is more important, then why can’t men have the same thing. Why shave, why look lean and fit like the models in various commercials. After all that is not the real man.

Real man is sprawled on the couch, beer  in hand, chips on the table and glued to sports channel. So the real woman should not have a problem with the real man 😛

So let’s celebrate the real man.. The Dad Bod!

Will stay away from all the stuff that was said about how women actually fall more for the dad bods… it is like a deo saying spray it on and watch the angels fall.. a myth

Age Compression


It is interesting how the real life and reel life always collide. I mean we all know that cinema or a lot of serials (not the saans bahu crap) are a reflection of the popular culture and they show the trends or in many cases suss out the trend in its infancy and push it forward.

So why am I talking about this? Couple of days back there was an episode of Boston Legal (have become a big fan of the serial) about this very sexually overt doll for 6 year olds and it described this whole age compression theory of how toy manufacturers propagate the kids to look at toys which really are not meant for their age. It did make me wonder about how right that theory is. When NFS (Need For Speed) mentions 12+ or 15+ or 18+ on the jacket, it, in a very subliminal way, is provoking the kids. Now Boston Legal episodes are obviously a rerun since this particular episode is from 2007 season… so whats the connection.

It is what happened at Modern School in New Delhi last week. The kind of language that was used by 6th graders during the bullying. Extremely sexual and violent…

So where do 11-year-old kids learn this from… Environment and access brought about by the digital connect. As parents, we like to believe that we are monitoring our kids to make sure that they are brought up in the right way. Sure we are… but somewhere some parents are not doing it right and those kids become a big influence on others around them. Ever seen a guy jumping the red light with his kids in the car? Ever seen a guy making his young child sit with him in the driver’s seat and manage the steering wheel? That really is the beginning of the end actually..

Digital connect has also led to the end of innocence. There will be millions who will turn around and tell me that internet has also led to a lot of awareness and how the kids of today are so well-informed and how they check what the kids do on the net… Really? do you??

We are so clueless today about what is happening with our kids. We live in a state of denial and yet when you look around, you see kids doing stuff which we as kids didn’t even know. Sure some of it is good and has led to kids being geniuses but like all things in life, it’s the taboo that titillate and tempts and makes the kids want to experience and catches their attention…

That episode of Boston Legal in 2007 was reflecting what was happening in US back then. And it resonates with what is happening in this country now and where we are headed.

I don’t know if there is a solution to this or will we also go through the cycle of degradation before getting back on our feet…

Only time will tell if the foundation of our culture is strong enough to withstand the onslaught of the western decadence that led to moral corruption of the west.. I think the foundation will collapse. For the simple reason that what we project as a strong value foundation is so hollow.. tolerance and value system that has not been followed by people of this country ever.. these are just nice sounding words…

Age compression is here to stay and we in our busy lives do not have the time or we even know how to manage this turbulence…

Anything is possible


Don Draper of Mad Men works on Madison Avenue
Don Draper of Mad Men works on Madison Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Two quotes from Don Draper of Mad Men to start this post and to make a point:

 

“People want to be told what to do so badly that they will listen to anyone”

 

“What you call love was invented by guys like me… to sell nylons”

 

The more I see of the advertising today, am increasingly getting convinced that agencies (and the client) and still living their lives in the Madison Avenue of the 60’s. You can sell anything as long as you play on the fear or insecurity of the people. Or play on their lack of self belief…

 

When growing up, there are brands that tell you how you can be more intelligent than the rest… taller than the rest… sharper than the rest.. (wonder what happens if theoretically everyone was to consume these brands! how will the comparison happen??)

 

As you grow older, there are writing instruments that tell you how you can write the perfect paper in double-quick time etc.

 

And then the fun starts… If you had not consumed the stuff that would make you intelligent and taller and sharper while growing up.. do not lose hope… There is a chewing gum I think which will make the big idea pop up in your head… there is a carbonated drink… gulp it down and you are ready to conquer all your fears… A cola which makes you do crazy stunts… And now the latest Josh Cola – Pepsi Atom! Seriously… if one were to consume all of this… why worry if at birth your IQ was bordering around stupid!

 

And not to forget.. all the deos (my pet peeve) who can get the girls fawning over you… or if only you can learn the art of picking up a fallen book (remember to wear Raymonds)… attracting the girls is a breeze…

 

And things don’t end there.. If for some reason you did not take care of your skin while you were young… there are miracles waiting for you beyond the 30… Forever young they will keep you…

 

Of course I have been part of this profession for more than 20 years but some of the stuff I see now.. makes me question what we do… A decade and half back… Pepsi used to be fun.. as my advertising guru used to say… the communication was a surrogate for actual consumption of the drink… there was a an irreverence about it because after all.. cola or any carbonated drink is completely irreverent.. don’t get philosophical…

 

Same thing with alcohol advertising – Johnny Walker keep walking or Teacher’s achievement awards or many such initiatives… seriously? And yeah.. that reminds me.. this weekend Bacardi Breezer had a fun-filled evening for the families in our complex… The problem with that… Kids were taking part in all the fun… and 12/13 year olds talking about how they wish they could have a breezer! Way to go Bacardi… catch them young

 

But enough… advertising will not change because consumers and their insecurities wont and as long as there are enough insecure people on this planet…

 

 

 

A Culture gone horribly wrong


 

We were supposedly never like this. The word tolerance epitomized the Indian culture. A culture that not only let other cultures integrate within its own but also changed and adapted itself to a changing environment. Of course to many, this would be a truism but to me… it sounds like a lot of hogwash.

And the more I read the newspapers nowadays, the more my belief gets strengthened.

Maybe it is the ever-present media that exposes our hypocrisy or maybe we have actually moved from being tolerant to intolerant… the truth is that this country and the people are on a down hill and the brakes have failed. And I think all of us  are to be blamed for the situation.

Read in the newspapers today about exodus of North-East people from various cities in south and west because of some vigilante threats! Why? and of course for once, since the typical Hindu organizations are not part of this, they are looking at milking this opportunity to present their ‘secular’ credentials by exhorting the people not to leave.

I wont talk about the culture police who raided a private party in Mangalore or the molestation case in Assam. Enough has been said about these two  but it sure is a reflection that this country is moving back into dark ages.

Various news reports about women being told not to wear jeans or there will be acid attacks. People being cruel to their househelps. People being cruel to each other… road rage… abetting suicide…. parents accused of killing their daughters.. khaps… the list is endless.

Why is this happening? Or is it that it was happening for years but it is just that media in their hunger for “breaking news” and TRPs have aimed their spotlight at these issues?

And where is the political view on all of this? Politically quiet because 2014 is round the corner?

The economy is in trouble. The volcano is bubbling under the surface… will explode soon enough. We don’t see it yet because we are too busy leading our lives or trying very hard to, not counting the “inflation-proof people” who continue to revel in conspicuous consumption. The number of BMW X1 on the road would suggest that everything is fine, people are moving up economically. Disposable income is going through the roof. But is that really happening? Or is the economic divide only getting wider?

Corporates, with their strategists and forecasters have probably figured out the downward trend and have started tightening their belts. Strange though… they can see it and government can’t or rather refuses to. The Prime Minister said in his Independence day speech that he expects GDP this year will be around 6.5%… seriously?? How?? How can a paralyzed government which spends more time on figuring out how their candidate can become President & Vice-President have the time to look at the people it governs. Living in denial sure helps. Damn the foreign rating agencies.. they have no clue what they are talking about. After all, they could not predict the crash of 2008 so why should we believe them!

As a country, as a culture we have gone back in times. As an economy we are sitting on a powder keg. I guess our country needs an explosion, a revolution of sorts to come out of the mess we are in. And no… Anna Hazare and Ramdeo Baba are not the ones who can lead the revolution.