Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I am crying....

No I am not.
But it's good to get those tear buds active and the cheeks smeared once in a while.
It's an outflow of emotions.
A release of things pent up and we all need to  do that.

Actually a good cry does much more than just release.
It clears our clouds.
Makes us see things in the right perspective.
Most calls in life are taken after a good cry.
When the emotions that make us blind at times have been  let out.

Maybe it's a good idea to have "Cry Sessions" at work.
Where everyone gets together and just give vent to feelings.
Well not really cry but do pretty much the same thing - in fact really let go.
No seniority juniority
No calls taken at that session
No judgement passed
Just talk and crib and express and rave and rant

Will make that difference once it's all out.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Middle Common Denominator

The jargon we commonly use in advertising and marketing are Lowest Common Denominator  or LCM to work out something that can be comprehended and is relevant to the lowest demographic or psychographic cut.

This  blog on middle class values is  based on my observations and anecdotes. So here goes.

There are uncanny similarities between the Economically Deprived( ED) section of society and the Economically Abundantly  ( EA) Endowed.

For instance,
Marriages are often an "arrangement" with financial implications knotted in

Well defined and quite different passion points for men and women

The men earn for the family but splurge on themselves as well- on all kinds of indulgences. Wives do not question because their needs are satisfied.Men hang out with "boys", share jokes , talk about financial aquisitions- whether it is a new goat or a new jet, dabble in Sunday hangouts, sports and hobbies. Wives have their women friends, share jokes, talk about financial management at home- whether it is a new pair of gold earrings she managed to squeeze out of her monthly scrappings and will pay the local jeweller a small amount every month or  Cruises on the  Mediterranean, depending on whether  you are ED or EA.

Children are given ample freedom- no displinarian mom spending nights before exams and expecting star grades everytime. There is understanding that the children will grow up and take over the financial management, eitherways.

Minimalism is the mantra- from wardrobe to home decor.

Sensuality is more overt- whether navels in fields or well waxed page 3 legs.

Regular food habits are skewed towards greens and health- no oily evening snacks rule the roost
Future is today. Now is everything.

Compare this to the now defined in various ways but what we used to define as the Great Indian Middle Class.

Marriages are arranged love bondings- with couples reliving romances together in temple gardens, now malls, parks and beaches.
Husband and wife have shared passions and interests- they cannot afford to splurge on individual ones. As a result, most free time, weekends are spent together as one family unit. There is happiness in a bhelpuri snack by the beach or a Mc Donald's icecream and Aloo Tikki burger meal on a Sunday evening.
Husbands and wives, if working, put in their earnings in a joint kitty- no question on  spending on themselves. 
Children are disciplned, groomed,  coached, grilled- academics is paramount.
Future is Tomorrow. Now is temporary.

Yes there is a mix and mingle of values across all sections and demographies.

Some of us have lived out all three definitions at some point in life.
Most of my blog readers will maybe be in the EA category.

Yet sometimes I wonder... are we giving up quite a few "good values" ( for want of another term) that defined us and our parents, as we cross the line to greater heights? Do we unconsciously put "family" second stage at times and justify that it's all right- we have earned this, or this is important for my business and career?

Maybe we do, maybe we don't.
The answer lies deep within each of us.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Professor

As I walked in to the Institute where I was invited for a session, time stood still for a moment.
After 15 years, I saw some one who I respected, feared, was awestruck, and was my inspiration during my MBA days.
My professor.

It was as if things had come full circle.
I was excited, delighted and nervous at the same time.
Will he like my work?
What if there are any shortcomings....

He was there on the front row.
I began my session by saying that today I stand at the podium as a student.
Talking about advertising and marketing.
Hoping that I would be able to live up to expectations.

Things went off well.
I came back home, satisfied and happy.

Realised how we pass out and relegate our  teachers to the back bench of our memory.
How we are connected to half the world but hardly find time to drop an email to them
How we talk about our professional icons but let go of the icons that shaped us when we were mere students, with minds that were yet to be shaped with the right knowledge and thinking.

And how, in the true spirit of teaching, our teachers always shower us with the same love and warmth they had for us when we were young.
Proud of our achievements.
But never taking credit.
Not once.
Never once questioning our short memories.

I  was truly a student today.
And came back wiser and happier.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bermudas and Kurtis

Birthday parties in those days meant wearing a frilly, lacy white or pink dress.
Tailored by my mum herself or the local tailor, who would put on his thick dark rimmed glasses, slip on the snakey worn out measuring tape around his shoulders , and thumb his way through dog earred pages of "foreign" magazines where beautiful blondes posed in chic suits and little cherubic angels posed in frilly white frocks.

That was as close to fashion as we could get.
The uniqueness lay in the dexterity of mums to select the right outfit that Shombu "darzi" could muster up on his Usha sewing machine.

Then there were the "readymades" in plusher stores- if we were lucky, we would get one or two during pujas.

My first pair of jeans was extremely formal party wear.  Teamed with yet another frilly pink blouse.
Till the jeans became a more familiar sight in and around us, got paired with casual t-shirts.

College was churidars and salwars. And of course, the occasional sarees and our traditional mekhela chador.

The more fashion adventurous ones wore jeans with kurtas. Then jeans with short tops. And jeans with t-shirts. Followed by capri jeans with sleeveless t-shirts till the strict Principal   put his foot down and listed out  what is "allowed" as college wear.

Work  started off with more churidars. Common black, red and white salwars or pyjamas, and a choice of cottons and semi cotton, full sleeves, half sleeves as kurtas.

That was the time when the "bermuda" shorts made their cheeky appearance on shelves. Suddenly, young girls were wearing bermudas and tshirts for evening walks or casually at home on Sundays. Bermudas were rarely worn outside of home or locality but gave the young girls their first whiff of fashion freedom.

The short kurta or "kurti" made its shy appearance maybe 5 or 6 years ago.
Giving the Indian fashion  a facelift. And women and girls permission to  dive into "western wear"- namely jeans and kurtis.
This is the height of fashion in small towns, especially for married women and mums who had quietly folded up their "unmarried" wardrobe in the recesses of the spare Godrej almirah.

The movement is still on- it is always a process.
The latest in line of Indo western fashion fusion are "tunics" with "tights".
Belted, laced, layered, halter necked- they come in all shapes and sizes.

Fashion in mass India is truly an indicator of a change in mindset.
A sign of a sense of freedom.
A symbol of equality in relationships.

And shows that as a nation, we do not blindly adopt but redefine what we have been used to.
Like they say "make adjustments"....