name: that girl in pink
location: Somewhere, India
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Friday, February 24, 2006

Ad Nausea

It’s said that those who don’t make it in their chosen fields become critics. I guess the same stands true of out of work copywriters.

Lately, between sleeping, reading, rearranging the furniture in my drawing room and attempting to figure out what I want to do with my life I’ve also been watching a lot of TV. And since all the channels I watch have conspired to time their ad breaks with each other, I’m forced to watch the ads as well. Now, as an avid, if somewhat reluctant, ads watcher; I believe I have a right to give my opinion on what I want to see. Well, what I really want to see is no more ads. But since that option is impossible and highly self detrimental I’ll just stick with bitching, oops! critiquing, the ads currently on Indian television.

The following is a list of some specific commercials that make me want to issue death threats, as well as some general categories of commercials that I’d like banned.

# The ICICI 12 hour banking commercial – If there ever was a woman who made violence towards women acceptable and somewhat necessary, she’s the one! From the beginning to the end of the ad, she does nothing but sulk and bitch. There are just so many things about her that make me want to sock her in her grumpy face. From the way she keeps saying “babuji babuji” to her pissed off expression to her body language to her stupid face…man, I wanna slap her! No wonder her husband works late. If I were married to her I’d stay in office late too. And when no one was looking I’d stick my finger into an electrical socket and kill myself.

# Loreal Hair Colour and Mascara – Someone save me, I’m dying of an Aishwarya Rai overdose. Sure she’s gorgeous and a thing of beauty is a joy forever and all that but enough already. I’ll buy the damn hair colour if it’s purple and yes yes we are shocked by the scaffolding effect of the mascara, just please go off air now. Or at least reduce your frequency to a slight more reasonable once in 15 seconds. Seriously, how many mascaras do they plan to sell to ever make up for all that media spend?

# McDowells No. 1 – Ironic isn’t it? An ad with the word “life” in it 85 times makes you want to take your own. Does anyone know what that ad means? In all honesty I can’t even say I hate it ‘cause frankly, I just don’t get it. The finger, the glow, the song, the professor…what’s going on here? Somewhere, there’s a Martian watching that ad and asking, “Earth pe intelligent life hai professor?”

# Maggi Soups – Stupid idiotic bunch of nimrods fussing over a stupid idiotic soup. Wholesome goodness my ass! Stop getting excited over a soup you’re too lazy to make from scratch yourself, and get a life!

# Airtel lifetime free ad – Hats off to Shahrukh Khan, he managed to fool us into thinking he could act for quite a long time. His masquerade as an actor should go down in the hall of fame of the greatest hoaxes ever. But now, the gig is up. In the Airtel ad he proves that he can act about as well as I can grow a penis.
Shahrukh baby, you should be called King Con. Take my advice, add a few more rooms to your mansion, put together a buffet menu and you’ll have yourself a thriving lodging and restaurant business. You can even make little clay statuettes of yourself bended on one knee, with arms outstretched and eyebrows in a puzzled expression. Call the statuette “My Career” and give one free to every customer.

# Ads with the word “twacha” in it – Excuse me, I just threw up a little typing that word. Seriously, every time I hear that word on TV (that would be every other second), my skin visibly crawls (no pun intended). Let’s face it, some people are just born with luminous skin and some of us have run out of excuses for mysterious break outs they promised would stop with adulthood. Watching women balance loving husbands, singing children and hectic careers while keeping their twachas looking perfect just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. Quit selling us creams with vitamins B5 and Z9, we all know about the 10 hours of make up and airbrushing the models go through.

# The promise of “salon like” hair – This set of ads really insults my intelligence. What the hell is salon like hair anyway? Is it like when you sit in a salon and three women descend on your head with hair dryers, irons, curlers and tons of hair product? Are they saying that washing my hair with their shampoo will magically make my hair curl at the bottom in large raphaeleque curls? Arrrgghh!! I get so wild when I see these ads that my hair starts curling just with anger. Maybe that’s what they were getting at in the first place…

# Happy families who sing – Who in their lives have ever gotten up after a meal and broken out into a song praising the masala the food was cooked in? Or had a family theme song to sing each time they showered with a particular brand of soap? Who started this urban myth and why has it been allowed to perpetuate? I thought popular culture was a mirror to reality. Whose reality is this?

Ah! The list is long. And frankly, quite painful. I guess ads are a necessary evil and if nothing else, at least they provide employment. And for that we should all be thankful. And when they get too much to bear we always have pirated DVDs to turn to. No ads, no trailers, just the satisfaction of watching something before it’s officially out. (That’s right Z café and Star World; we’ve all seen Friends Season 10 so quit advertising about it and get some new shows already. At least that’ll make the exercise of watching all those ads somewhat more fruitful.)

Posted by that girl in pink  | 12:44 AM  |  23 comments  

Thursday, February 09, 2006

All that's pink is not rosy

Raise your hands all those who, like me, have at one time or the other hated the name your parents saddled you with. Don’t get me wrong, after 27 years of being me, I’ve accepted my name and sometimes even answer to it but on the whole I do think it’s a tad insipid. See, I was born at a time where every child was named Rahul, Neha, Akshay or Shweta. And in keeping with the trend I too got a double syllable name with a vague meaning, low recall and no sex appeal. Now had I been named Tatiana or Zoya or Rapunzel I would’ve been introducing myself to every stranger on the street but under the current circumstances I tend to be a little more discerning.

So when I got the chance to christen myself on blogger you can imagine how excited I was. It was like going back to that fateful day in 1978 when my family was naming me. Only this time I could talk. And I wasn’t going to come up with some lame-ass Dinku name. No siree, this was an opportunity and I was going to grab it. So I thought hard and I thought creative and I came up with the perfect name. Bursting with pride at my own brilliance and dreams of a bright future ahead with my new moniker I keyed it into the registration form. And blogger told me it was already taken. So I thought some more and blogger rejected me once again. Finally after umpteen rejections and on the verge of naming myself Shweta I found inspiration in the colour of my tee shirt. And thus That Girl in Pink was born.

Although not my first choice That Girl in Pink was at least in my top 500 and I kinda like it. Sure it was a bit ‘girly’ and rather ‘pink’ but it was unique and managed to convey at least one level of my personality. (I’m still trying to discover deeper levels and until such time as I find an undiscovered love for Goth it’ll hold me in good stead.) Most importantly, it wasn’t a name I was embarrassed by. I could hold my head up high as I signed my name on other blogs’ comments page. I even dared dream of a click or two and some new traffic to my blog. But all that changed about a week ago.

The culprit of my humiliation? None other than a dead saint who went by name of Valentine. As far as I’m know no other saint has caused as much chaos as this one. For centuries, this man has single handedly managed to make every human being miserable for one whole month. The unattached mope about their single status and couples fret about what the hell to do with this day apparently dedicated to love (yech!) He is the reason for the existence of an entire disgusting industry of oddly shaped dust attractors called soft toys (double yech!) Centuries after his death he is responsible for “Everlasting Love Songs, Volume 4 million”. He’s the reason radio has a whole week dedicated to finding “Bangalore’s Sweethearts”. But as far as I’m concerned his biggest crime to date is the association of his name with the colour pink.

This awful realisation hit me a few days back when I went into Barista for a smoothie. As I was placing my order and gearing up to saying no to whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate sprinkles or pieces of brownie the guy behind the counter asked me if I’d like to try their Valentine’s Special. In response to the quizzical look on my face he pointed me to a bunch of posters around the place. That’s when I noticed that the usual warm browns of Barista one is used to had been brutally attacked and taken over by pink. And not just a hint either. There were giant pink paper hearts, milkshakes with pink strawberries and pink heart shaped pastries all over the place. Every table I looked at had humungous pink tent cards asking us to give into the spirit of love. I bolted out of the coffee shop in horror, only to be assaulted by the colour outside. Suddenly my eyes were like inversed guided missiles, searching out pink and getting destroyed in the process. Stores, malls, restaurants, newspapers, even the Internet…the pink valentine invasion was widespread. It was enough to make me sick. And the greatest irony of it all – I am That Girl in Pink. I can run but I will only be taking the dreaded enemy with me.

Today I look back and wonder why I couldn’t have been wearing some other colour during my naming ceremony. There’s no way That Girl in Off-white could’ve come to bite me in the ass. Damn you St. Valentine! I don’t know whether you were hung or you died rotting in jail but whatever it was, you deserved it! Grr!!

While on the topic of love, I have been tagged by my friend Lemontree. The rules are:

1. The tagged victim has to come up with 8 different points of their perfect lover.
2. You have to mention the sex of the target.
3. Tag 8 victims to join this game & leave a comment on their comments saying they've been tagged.
4. If tagged the 2nd time, there's no need to post again.

So here goes:

The Perfect Lover – 8-point program

Sex: Male

1. Should love to laugh. My agenda for life is to laugh and smile and have as good a time as I possibly can. My lover should be the same. A sense of humour, the ability to see the lighter side of things and a complete aversion to moping and sulking are indispensable.

2. Should be intelligent. There are times when we will not be laughing and tittering over nonsense and I need to be able to have intelligent conversations/debates with depth, knowledge and passion.

3. Should be good-looking. I’m shallow, so sue me!

4. Should know what he’s doing; be giving and open to new things. (If you know what I’m saying.)

5. Should be honest. I can’t stand liars and I need to respect my perfect lover. This means he should be honest not just with me but also in his daily proceedings. No bribers will be welcome.

6. Should get along with my friends. Don’t you just hate it when your best friend finds a boyfriend who only talks to her and has nothing but disdain for all her friends? Well, my friends are a huge part of my life and my perfect lover needs to be able to talk to them.

7. Should pamper me. Part of the purpose of taking a lover (lol!) is so you can feel good about yourself. I need to be made to feel like the queen I actually am and from time to time I need some of my whims to be fulfilled.

8. Should just know. There are times when I need to be left alone and times when I need some mollycoddling. There are times when I’m saying it as it is and times when I’m fibbing. There are times when I want Chinese food and times when I want to have Top Ramen noodles. My perfect lover should know when I want what without me having to spell it out.

So that’s my list and I’m sticking by it. By the way, this might induce some gagging for some but I have to say, I’ve actually found someone who has at least 6 of the above qualities. So yeah, I’m feeling a bit smug.

I now wish to pass the baton on to 8 more bloggers. Sonya, Dee, Goldennib, Shub, Velvetgunther, Sinusoidally, Pyxie Queen and Spider Girl. Go on. Play God!

Posted by that girl in pink  | 11:06 AM  |  21 comments