Monday, December 31, 2007

Inspired, perspired or conspired?

I remember an ad written by a friend for a motorbike. It said 'Go from unknown to well known in 5 seconds flat'. This one takes even less - just 2 words. And it rides on a stolen vehicle.

Leads me to think that the presence of 'copy' in copywriter is not entirely unjustified.

The original by Ravi Eshwar

Inspired, perspired or conspired?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Very funny ad!

I haven't been around these parts for a few days. The city of Mumbai had taken me hostage and was demanding a huge sum for my return. There was work to be done, and till then I stayed put.

I was going back from work one night. The clock was halfway between the 9th and 10th hour, and its fastest hand ticked along at that constant speed it is famous for. The traffic just about kept pace. My eyes wandered around, looking for things that might eventually end up here. I'd been in the car for an hour already, and there was still an equal distance to be covered.

I then saw it. High above the road. Brightly lit. A billboard for a long, luxury car. It said, "The road is calling. Play". I looked out, and I promise you, there wasn't any trace of road around me. Just vehicles for as far as I could see. Here was an advertiser who couldn't find a humorous way to say his thing, so he was saying funny things instead. I loved it. I said a word of gratitude for his sense of humour. It had made my ride a lot less boring.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

Running back for a kite

I've often found my literary considerations thrown awry by what I've heard being discussed in arty-farty circles.

The ones that go, "Ooh, have you read this book? It's such powerful writing you know. It opens your mind. You'd never imagine someone could write so well. Oh, the twists and turns. It's an emotional extravaganza. I must read it again. The author? Khaled something. I believe it's the same person who sang Didi... "

Today I will go back to a page I thus missed. The Kite Runner.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Where exactly are the roads in Chennai going?

Take a ride/walk down the Old Mahabalipuram Road or the IT Corridor as it is has more recently been called, and you will for a moment forget that you are in Chennai.

No overflowing drains and garbage bins that appear more frequently than a politician's mug.

No stinky sidewalks that mask your body odour and the deodorant you've showered in.

No wet patches on walls that remind you that shamelessness is a way of life.

No spine crunching potholes that are the pride of Chennai.

All gone. Vanished without a trace. It must be David Copperfield. Or is it P. James, the city's very own?

So I ask myself. If one road in the city can be free of potholes (even if it is to fool foreign investors), why not every other? I couldn't find a logical answer. So I arrived at a conspiracy theory which was offered up by that half of my brain which loves Cartoon Network.

Here goes.

It's a nexus between the Govt. and tyre, shock absorber manufacturers. If all roads were as smooth as a baby's bum, tyres would last a lot longer. As would the shocks. So they make less money. Which is a lot less than a good thing. So let's make more potholes must be the unanimous decision. If the elements don't do it, just send someone along to dig up a drain.

On that bumpy note, I leave you. To come up with your own theory. Do keep me posted.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

When it rains, Chennai continues to pour

Yesterday I got an SMS from a friend in Bangalore.

"I hear it's raining heavily in Chennai. Guess you won't need Cauvery water this year."

What he hasn't heard is that it's not just the rains that's contributing to the increased levels of ground water. The local male populace, not to be discouraged by a rainy day, have been unzipping and shooting their hearts out with gay abandon. In public places. So I'd still like to have my drinking water from the Cauvery.

Lend me your ears, and I will pay you back in EMIs

The mobile rings. "Tring, tring"


"Good morning sir. Am I speaking to Mr. Chintamani Chidambaram?"

"Shouldn't you know?"

"Thank you sir. This is Arakonnam Aravind calling on behalf of ABCXYZ Bank."

"For what?"

"Thank you for asking sir. I will tell you. You are one of our privileged customers chosen for a pre-approved loan of Rs 10 lakhs which you can repay in 3 years, 5 years or 10 years in Easy Monthly Instalments."


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Modern times

And around him, state-of-the-art Hondas, Toyotas, Suzukis, Nissans, Kawasakis, Mitsubishis, Chevrolets, Hyundais, BMWs, Fiats, Mercedes, Renaults...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Kicking the bucket

5 star hotels seem to work on a different caste system from the rest of the country. There are those who wash and there are those who wipe. I think it's a carefully planned strategy to divide society on 'ablutionary' lines. How else can you explain the absence of a mug and bucket from otherwise outstandingly well stocked bathrooms, and the abundance of that famous Chinese invention from 705AD?

The conclusion? It's upper class to wipe. It's middle class or lower to wash.

So Mr. Ass Kisser. On which side of this societal divide have you been puckering up?

Monday, December 17, 2007

White, white, dirty fellow

I have noticed that people who thrive on corruption and everything that's not in line with the law, often sport the whitest of whites. Odd coincidence?

Just for a laugh, here are a few meanings listed at for the word white.

(Slang.) decent, honorable, or dependable: That's very white of you.

auspicious or fortunate.

morally pure; innocent.

without malice; harmless.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Piercings in politically incorrect places?

I started with the premise that society is madly, crazily obsessed with jewellery. Ears, nose, lips, eye brows. Several sets for each.

Where else?

Turn your imagination loose and it will return with wicked tidings. Of hidden opportinities.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is Indian society straight? Or is it just my twisted sense of humour?

I find it very surprising that I am more likely to see 2 men under an umbrella, than a man and a woman. What's even more peculiar is that eyebrows are likely to be raised if it's a M-F couple sharing a spot of shade. But two men in a boat? Oh, that's alright. What can two men really get up to?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Peedom of expression

Hold your nose if you're visiting Chennai. And be very careful of who you shake hands with.

Friday, December 07, 2007

FreeRice - Play and feed a hungry person

is a website that lets you play a word game on it. For every correct answer, 20 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations to fight world hunger. What's in it for you? A better vocabulary.

Who pays for the donated rice?
The rice is paid for by the advertisers whose names you see on the bottom of your vocabulary screen. This is regular advertising for these companies, but it is also something more. Through their advertising at FreeRice, these companies support both learning (free vocabulary for everyone) and reducing hunger (free rice for the hungry). We commend these companies for their participation at FreeRice.

If FreeRice has the rice to give, why not give it all away right now?
FreeRice is not sitting on a pile of rice―you are earning it 20 grains at a time. Here is how it works. When you play the game, advertisements appear on the bottom of your screen. The money generated by these advertisements is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people.

Who distributes the donated rice?
The rice is distributed by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The World Food Program is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good. Wherever possible, the World Food Program buys food locally to support local farmers and the local economy. We encourage you to visit the
United Nations World Food Program to learn more about their successful approach to ending hunger.

Does FreeRice make any money from this?
No, it does not. FreeRice runs the site at no profit.

Scorpions in Bangalore after America

The trains from Chennai to Bangalore are going to be full the next 2 weekends. The music buff is travelling that way. And Laloo-ji if you are listening, this is an opportunity to make a fast buck. Run a special train.

"Bangalore Raack Moosik Axepress".

And while Chennaiites sulk, and lament the absence of Chennai from all band tour schedules, Bangalore continues to remind the world, that it is the place to be in South India. (So what if you're stuck in traffic on MG Road?) I wonder if that will become the next big election promise. Ahead of colour TVs.

America, the band of Ventura Highway and Sandman fame, will be performing on a stage at the Palace Grounds in Bangalore on December 9.

The Scorpions play next. At the Palace Grounds in all likelihood. December 16 is the date you have to keep.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Staying off the hook

Copy, art and the frustration of the client not getting it : All mine

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

Chennai pubs - more bars than the local jail

Good interiors. Outstanding music. Average service. Parking for 10 cars and seating for over a 100 people. Pubs in Chennai aren't too different from one street to another. Butt for the size of the bouncers manning the door.

So when this new pub opened within walking distance of my humble home, I decided to acquaint myself with its interiors. So after a long day at work, tired of spirit and parched of throat, I ambled up to the pub with a male friend of similar disposition. And just as we reached the door, the afore introduced bouncers - 3 of them - converged on us. I don't know why all 3 came at us. Each of them was bigger than both of us put together and twice as intimidating. Perhaps it was the dawning of the mathematical reality that 3 is greater than 2, and that 1 (no matter how big a 1) is still less than 2.

They informed us that it was Ladies' Night and the male sex was allowed in only in the company of a member of the fairer sex. We decided against any attempt to pass off as bearded ladies, and moved on to another dignified watering hole.

The next time, determined to get past the door, I got my wife to tag along. Of course, I had made it a point to wear fully covered shoes, a collared shirt and bottom wear that stopped well below my ankles. I even combed my hair. It worked and they let us in.

Like I mentioned before, the interiors were nice. Quite pub like, smoky, with a sprinkling of bar stools and TV screens. The music, just the way I like it mixed - classic rock. But there was something else which had classic corked written all over it.

It was the seating.

Men in one section. Women in another. And couples in a third.

Boys' school. Girls' school. Co-ed.


I was disappointed. My optimism had been dashed to the ground and swept into the drains. Here was another pub with more restrictions than drinks on their menu. I'm off to Bangalore for the weekend.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Remember those great Volkswagen ads?

Some ads. Some storyboards. Not quite the book. Not quite not having one.

Click here.

Chennai Photowalk, version 2

Sometime last month Chandrachoodan Gopalakrishnan announced on his blog a photowalk from some place in Chennai to another. The plan? Just like 'photowalk' suggests, shoot pictures as you walk. Around a dozen people turned up, shot some nice pics and posted them HERE.

Much as I needed the walk, I couldn't make it. Now CCG is doing it again on December 9, 2007. The details of the second Chennai photowalk are here.

I'm going to make it this time. Add a few pics. Lose a few grams. Hmmmm.....................................