Monday, October 30, 2006

The festival of lights, Oct 2006

No enlightening words of wisdom here. Just a few shots of Chennai celebrating Diwali. Some from ground. Some from 6 floors up.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Vulture shock

It's not easy getting around town on a rainy day. Chennai's drainage system becomes conspicious by its absence. The roads are flooded, and with vehicles occupying every inch of dry space, the pedestrian must wade. Or find transport.

The ideal setting for the city's buzzards to hold the common man to ransom. I'm talking about the yellow bellied creepy crawlies called autos.

They are a law to themselves even on a sunny day. But when it rains, the greed seems to multiply. Outrageous demands for money greet commuters. It's a gun to the head - pay up or soak it up.

Is the Government listening?

Perhaps the common man must wait till the next election to bring them to the streets once again.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The vilest of pollutants

Ask an environmentalist and he will talk chemical composition, vehicle exhaust, deforestation and more. But who's to question the pollution of the city's environs by advertisers?

Billboards, posters, wall paintings, gate signs, auto backs, bus panels, shop signs, leaflets, scooter seat covers, pole signs, beach signs, tree signs, this signs, that signs and everything else signs. It's nauseating.

Who is responsible? The advertisers who do it? Or the Government that allows them? Or is it the citizen who doesn't care?

But no matter where the buck stops, Chennai needs respite from this visual trash.

"As a private person, I have a passion for landscape, and I have never seen one improved by a billboard. Where every prospect pleases, man is at his vilest when he erects a billboard. When I retire from Madison Avenue, I am going to start a secret society of masked vigilantes who will travel around the world on silent motor bicycles, chopping down posters at the dark of the moon. How many juries will convict us when we are caught in these acts of beneficent citizenship?" David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man, 1971

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Marina by night

The Marina beach in Chennai presents quite a carnival after sundown.

The party is on.

'Molaga bajji' lady


Shooting balloons

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The great outdoors

No space in Chennai has been left untouched by the tentacles of outdoor advertising. The picture above is a blot on the horizon of Besantnagar Beach (October 2006).

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dr. Know

A client was launching a restaurant. "I want the descriptor on my signage to read Multi Cuisine Restaurant (MCR)", he insisted. No amount of counselling worked in making him see otherwise. So I picked up my digicam, and shot pics of every MCR I came across that day. Noshir, a colleague, also had his camera pointed in the same direction. And together we got the client around to our line of thinking.

Now think about it. Where on earth will you find a client paying you to give him advice which he will not take? Try advertising.

Lagey raho Arshad bhai

Another saga of Munnabhai, and if there's one reason I'm hoping there will be a part 3, it isn't Munna.

While Sanjay Dutt delivers a stand up performance, the stand out performance comes from a much underrated actor. Arshad Warsi. He is brilliant playing Circuit, the lovable don's even more lovable sidekick.

"Woh, kya hai na bhai..."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A saree state of affairs

No matter where in Chennai you are, you're never too far from a saree hoarding. Throw a stone in almost any direction and you have an excellent chance of hitting one.

The magnificence of the 6 yard drape is advertised in a manner that has to be seen to be believed. And helping the cause are some distractingly good looking ladies. They don't however do much for traffic jams.

Next stop, the jewellery store.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

In the rear view.

My travels in Oz. October 2005.

I landed in Sydney a few minutes before the clock struck 7 pm. From the airplane window, 'phoren' didn't look any different. I walked out of the aircraft as fast as my cramped legs allowed me to. And went through a routine check of my papers.

Then a few steps down to pick up the bag I had checked in. Bag however, wasn't in any hurry to come out. Guess he knew he wasn't going to see much of Sydney anyway. And was making his displeasure evident.

Finally my luggage emerged. With a bump and a grind. I heaved it out. With a grunt. Next stop, the exchange counter. Ozzy dollars obtained, I turned to proceed to another check post. But hold on, here's a handsomely dressed couple coming my way. 'Can we see your papers please?', asked the lady with a smile. 'Sure', I said. Airport security. They probably thought I looked suspicious. I'd noticed the male half of the couple whispering into his partner's ear while trying very hard not to let me know, that he was looking in my direction. Many more polite questions, honest replies and satisfied curiosities later, I stepped out of the airport. Uncle Ram and Prem waved.

A little later we hit the road with Uncle Ram at the wheel of a roomy Mazda. And as we breezed through the streets of Sydney towards the suburb of Strathfield, I started to fall in love with the city.

The roads had lanes, and guess what, people stuck to them. There were zebra crossings where vehicles actually stopped to let pedestrians cross. This must be wonderland!