Originally posted on the ad woman:
Well, when the ad maestro Piyush Pandey himself casts a magical spell on a campaign, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the entire nation was moved.
This one’s a commercial that’s bound to sweep all the awards. It’s so insightful that it’s almost scary. Scary in the sense that the makers of the ad seem to directly speak to you than to a general audience.
The casting is flawless and the script, exemplary. This four minute video builds up like a story that doesn’t reveal the product right until the end. When you see it, you know that there couldn’t have been a simpler connect.
Watch. Weep. Repeat.
I remember 2012 like the back of my hand. It was the year I got my first hair cut after when I was a child, the year my grandfather had a heart attack and the year I truly understood that I didn’t know what I wanted do with my life. The news may come out as a summer wave after all, but in all honesty, I just don’t know where I’m headed.
I have loved reading books from an earlier age. I used to write poems, nothing worth mentioning about, but writing poems in 4th grade about philosophical thinking, well that’s something you don’t see every day. I was called the “Nightingale of IV C”. That’s my class by the way. I remember 40 of us being in the class and we passed as a whole every year. None of us shifted to other sections and our class teacher came with us too. I was often very reclusive and lied several times. I was a dark and easily noticeable kid. I had side braids folded to make a small loop on either sides of my head. I didn’t really care about growing up back then.
Unlike Western countries, the kids in India get to have an idea about modernisation at a slower pace. In fact cell phones were the first start to sophistication. When cell phones became a thing, everyone had one to themselves. I didn’t find that impressive. Touch screen phones hadn’t evolved much since the late 2011 and people had those flip flop phones and small screen phones with tiny buttons on it. So when the teacher asked us about our parent’s mobile number, I used to stare and try looking vague because my parents didn’t own one. I found it very embarrassing to talk about phones because I knew nothing about them. I have very little memory of my childhood. It feels like a lucid dream I woke up from.
Childhood is like a sick nostalgia adults seem to crave for. Everything about it leaves a person bragging about the ‘good ol’ days’ and the memories they feel like they lost. I don’t understand what they regret about. In my opinion, we never really know when a moment becomes a memory. You would be spending time with your cousins making sand castles in the beach or going somewhere on a road trip when you were 8 or something. But at that moment you would have cursed it because you’re second cousin would have stolen your plastic spade or you had an ivy poison on your genitals when you went camping on a road trip. There is nothing like a memory gone wasted. We spend all our lives collecting memories yet never truly knowing when they are made.
I read a line, “We were the last generation to have our childhood photographs taken on a film roll camera.” Nothing could have been any truer than that. When you have a roll camera it is inevitable that you get it printed. But now, digital media has shrunk even that borderline and made it wire less in some cases. Like, “Oh. This is a nice scenery! Let me take a photo of it!!” and *snap*, you upload it on your laptop and post it on social media. BOOOOOMMMM!!!! If it were a roll camera, you’d have to wait until the tour gets over and get home and you visit a local photo studio and get it made into photographs and put them in an album and save it forever. Technology has made us alienate ourselves.
Five year olds these days own the latest Samsung S5 or iphone or some Apple related product. They carry them wherever they go and talk about new apps that I didn’t know had been trending in the Playstore. I no longer find kids looking out of their windows in the train or on buses. They play games on their parent’s phone or take goofy pictures of whatever they find dope!
I did grow up with phones. But none as modernised as the ones available these days. The only game that was available on my dad’s phone was ‘Bounce’ which was a mind-blowing game back then, not so addictive but a worth while entertainment. Like I mentioned earlier I don’t remember most of my childhood. I remember my teen years too very well. I can rewind and play them like a movie inside my head. I spent most parts of my early teenage life with books in my school’s library. It was a very small room that housed a collection of 15,000 and odd books and several of them were for educational purposes. There were only three racks of readable books neatly lined and labelled one after the other. I used to help the librarian at the end of every school year with book maintenance and stock checking. It was not fun because they wouldn’t let us borrow books for summer. But the best times were during my 9th and 10th grade when I spend every Quarterly and Half yearly vacation carrying home 3-4 classic books. The librarian gave me access to books no ordinary kid could.
She was a tall black woman, whose hair swung below her hips. She wore librarian glasses and looked sharp in the eye when she asked questions. She was very punctual and never missed a book go out of her register. Her saree never creased a line and folded perfectly in all the years I have looked at her ‘wearing-a-saree’ skills. She would often scold the boys but was kind towards girls as she saw them ‘harmless’ as compared to the boys who would tear up pages from expensive books. She would talk to me about my latest book reading experience and ask me suggestions on arranging books for middle school children. I took great liberty with the books, none that I used wrongly for my personal needs. I just enjoyed that kind of an attention.
It’s very hard when you’re a kid and nobody really knows who you are or what you’re doing in a miserable place; well that’s pretty much the story of my life. It was in those days I felt comfortable about myself and felt no need to impress anyone for their approval. I didn’t give a damn about what I wanted to be or worried about my sinking grades. I didn’t care about the labels people gave me, ‘spy’, ‘teacher’s pet’ or whatsoever. I sat there and read as much as my eyes could before they began to ache and longed every week to have a free library period. It was in my 9th grade that I was awarded the best library user. I couldn’t really believe it. I don’t know if I deserved it, but in some way I did. I still treasure that certificate. I have it hidden in a nice comfy folder in my locker.
Much of my life has been spent with books. I had never read a book twice. It would come as a shock to you but I don’t find it effective at all. The magic of the characters, the suspense of the story, everything lives only for once. After you read it, the key to it is unlocked. So I don’t find it useful reading the same thing over and over again. I remember stories better than my school stuff, so yeah, I have made up ample room inside my head for extraordinary individuals from books than real life people. I had never done anything twice, to add to the subject. I had never watched a movie twice, never visited the same place twice, although SCHOOL! That’s a shit hole everyone gets to be in for a goddamn 14 years of their life. Now I have to deal with college which is even more terrifying and boring rather.
The librarian at my college seems fun. She wore glasses, it feels mandatory that every librarian needs to wear glasses. Hmm..
She had a crème saree with a sky blue border to it. She smiled and directed me to where my interview was held. I have a feeling we will get along well. College is about to start in 11 days. Am I excited? Nope. I am never really excited for anything. If you let me I would stay home and read more books and live off the internet and curse the living world. The world I get to see on the internet, especially Tumblr seems comforting. I don’t want to picture something crueller and brutish waiting out there for me.
As of now, the heat has raised its bar to another level and I feel my internal organs are melting. I am going on a road trip. Don’t be too excited. A pilgrimage. I have several tourist spot that don’t gather the commoner’s attention. I am planning on visiting them. I hope it is a good trip.
I decided to do something new. Double Exposure photography was never my thing. My camera is a basic model and having an in built double exposure component would be overrated. So I took two pictures and tried something out in Photoshop Cs6. The results were great.
Disclaimer: I do not own copyrights to the photographs. I did an edit with it purely for educational purposes. The originals belong to their respective owners.
The first tip to safe Indian Terrain travels would be, always carry a spare jeans. Only if you’re a girl, you would truly understand the difficulty of wearing denim/jeans and you’d prefer to wear leggings or Indian Salwars instead. My idea of sophistication would be, to cut out on the salwar part and concentrate on collecting ethnic Kurthis to match leggings.
It has been nearly a month now, since my great North Indian tour ended. One of the incidents that happened there repeats inside my head pretty often now. It would be at a United Colors of Benetton Outlet at Dharamshala. As you know, Dharamshala, was once the home of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama when he fled Tibet and took refuge in India. There are tons of Buddhist Monastries and Worship Centers in and around Dharamshala and Mcleodganj.
So when it comes to clothes, I choose dark colours so I can blend in easily and not look like a pretty-girly version. I was very shallow about picking clothes and stuffed whatever I could for a rough train journey and then a tiring mountain trip. Turns out that one pair of jeans would not be sufficient.
I had to wear the same pair of jeans for 4 days straight, all in the same time, the dress started to become smelly and I couldn’t find a laundry store nearby. So, my parents decided to take me shopping in the quaint old town of Dharamshala with its narrow roads and rusty tour buses. If you’re from the plains and you’re somewhat stranded on a mountain range, always catch a local transportation to go to nearby places. It could be a kilometre or two far, but trust me, you can never walk the distance as easily like the locals.
The sun was setting by the time we reached a close hairpin bend. Huge trucks and lorries descended and we were hastening our walk so we don’t get rammed over by some heavy vehicle. My parents accompanied me on the insurmountable climb( which is pretty short and steep) along a local gas station and reached the flat top of the hill. We were huffing and gasping for air as well as received confused looks from the surrounding folk. The Outlet stood recluse on the market side of the township. Men were returning from a hard day’s labour and women stood near bus stops selling freshly cut vegetables and plucked flowers. There were a couple of soldiers stationed nearby and watched over the crowd as the buses aligned one after the other in the busy bazaar. We had to do a small hike to the outlet as it was situated at a higher platform as compared to the other shops and my mother complained that she would have rather stayed in her hotel room than take this torture with me.
United Colours Of Benetton. – The name read and I stared at it before my dad urged to get inside the shop.
I was greeted with bold eyebrows and pale green eyes who asked me in a Himachali Hindi what I was looking for in there. I should mention that I am not a very good speaker of the language myself and survived the entire tour confusing strangers with my broken Hindi and landing us in moderate trouble. “Kya Aapke pass, jeans hai?” (Do you have jeans here).. ? [As if I entered the wrong store].
The man understood that I was not a north Indian and it was evident because my parents were mumbling in Tamil. He began, “Yes, Ma’am. This way.” He guided and took me to a glass shelf and picked a jeans for my size. “Will this fit? It is 34??” I sounded alarm.
The AC was not a big hit there and I could tell you this, no matter how cool it is outside, you’re gonna feel sweaty inside your clothes. The man held a pair of jaded jeans in his hand and began,
“Ye aapka size hai. Ye acha lagega.” (this is your size and it will look good on you) he said and smiled. His eyes were so convincing that I didn’t counterfeit him and took the jeans and vanished into the dressing room. My mother kept checking several hoodies and was convinced she didn’t like it because you can never wear a hoodie in Chennai’s heat. Since it was a proper fit, I didn’t have much thought to give into. I returned back from the dressing room and told my mother that it fit me exactly. Horror struck her face! “How could it be? You buy your jeans at 36 right? How come 34 fits you?” she told me in Tamil. Everyone looked at us and I didn’t know what to say to her. I noticed my father smirk behind a couple of stalls. I began, “You can see me wear it then. We’ll compare.” I went straight to the green-eyed guy and asked him for the next size. “Ye company product ma’am. Isme koi problem nehi aagyega. Agar Aapko doosri size chahiye to, me de doongi. Aap compare kar lo”, (This is a company product Ma’am. You will not have a problem in this. If you want another size, I will give that and you can compare them.) he said in a half-alarmed tone. His eyes glistened once again and I cursed why men never had such pretty eyes in Chennai.
I took both the sizes and my mother to the dressing area. I tried both the outfits and took my mother’s approval for the 34 size and forwarded to pay the bill.
The guy at the billing counter was probably incharge of the store in that locality. He was man in his mid-thirties with an unshaved beard spiking through the pores on his face. He wore red glasses and a checked blue shirt and looked at a computer screen. I could see the digits he was typing on the screen from the reflection on his glasses. He looked stoic and smiled a little when he told me the numbers. The green-eyed man returned with a fresh pair of jeans and placed it in a duffel bag. He began, “Aap kahan se aaye ho?” (Where are you from). I replied, “Chennai.” Both of them looked confused and they remembered a recent movie called Chennai Express staring famous Bollywood faces flash into their mind. “Haan! Madras.” He replies and my whole face shrunk with disappointment.
I reach for the door and my father talks in fluent English to two men who can’t understand English about clothing choices of Teenagers and I stand outside in the cold evening and watch the people who look at me astonished. I realised people are always going to call South Indians as Madrasis even if we don’t like it. It’s a tag almost everyone of us earn. No matter how qualified and good we are, we are always going to be that, ‘dark-skinned, curly haired, brainiac’ to them.
Those eyes spoke more vividly than the language I could not have understood. He stood behind the glass doors and looked as we descended down the road and he swiped the doors clean. I was impaled and troubled at the same time, but I figured I am never going to see those guys again and I shouldn’t fret much. We walked quietly in mute conversation and I took to my dad’s phone and pictured a silhouette of pine trees in the hills. And as it was getting darker and the blue funk settled in, I walked along dry hedgerows and stamped over leaves that crunched with every footstep placed on them. This was just the beginning of such harsh realities I might have to face and wondered how college life would be in a North Indian State.
My mother is almost never happy when I cut my hair. It appears to me that she thinks ‘hair’ is a women’s priced possession. I know the general myth, or maybe a clinically proven myth that when you undergo pregnancy and stuff, you lose a lot of hair which is inevitable. But growing and maintaining long hair ain’t a piece of cake.
I am not the actual version of ‘I-love-my-hair’ girl. I have suffered with severe sinusitis and headaches when I wash my hair and tried to let it dry. Since my mom does not like blow dryers, I have to sit alone with my damp hair or maybe hunt for sunshine to dry it. I don’t understand what’s the whole fuss about it. My mothers seems unhappy about me cutting my hair.
Another thing I deeply regret now is my accidental experiment with my laptop. I have mentioned in my previous entries that I spilled coffee all over it and I was guessing it’s fried. Well, maybe it is fried. The accident happened during the warranty period, so the insurance covers it for the damages. I have learnt that I cannot simply share my home computer with my parents. Privacy seems to be a big deal these days. And everyone wants to have a cubicle of private space on the internet. I never log out from my social accounts. May it be facebook or twitter or tumblr for that matter. Since the laptop was co-owned by me, I thought it was ‘okay’ to not log out from these websites. I had a lot of romantic, underwritten poetic bullshit saved as drafts in it. I had journal entries saved in Microsoft Word. I had pictures of hot models and cheesy quotes on my folders. Now I feel almost paralyzed since its gone. I was happy before it, but since it’s summer and I am on my vacation and college is about to start in 3 weeks, I wanna spend some quality time with myself. That’s vague to tell but, you know I like being alone with the things I love.
My parents swore they’ll never buy me books. That sent me to tantrums like a kid. I was protesting as if I am seeking freedom for something. I finished reading Perks Of Being A Wallflower in a day. That depresses me and makes me happy. I loved the story. Raw, unadultered emotions. It’s chaos being a teenager in this generation. And if you’re growing in a traditionally woven country where everyone seems to be weirdly involved in some religious/political belief, then well, you’re screwed.
I was Charlie from the book. I am definitely him. The odds are that I don’t cry much and I can take my own decisions. But when it comes to understanding people and complicate relationships.. I am a pseudonym of Hollywood actresses. I just try to flaunt over their style. Like use funny words and laugh a lot. That scares people, especially boys. I am sorry. I am okay with having a family, maybe they are okay with having me. I wish someone would gift me more books for my birthday. Or they can give me money and I will buy those books.
18 years spent after landing on this planet. I am still alive and somewhere my soul regrets it. I have quite been a person. A very weird person. I hope college teaches me more things than make me build my nutshell bigger and indestructible by the society. It’s a brave new world. Scary yet promising.