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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another Rasna Ad

Here's another Rasna ad, albeit from a different era. The previous was 1985 vintage; this is relatively newer (1999). The cute kid this time is a boy (I think so) and 'I Love You Rasna' becomes 'Rasna, Everyone Loves You.' The agency is Mudra.

Download video [FLV 2MB 00:00:46]

[Filing this post under The Great Indian Ad Archive and not under Vintage Indian Advertisements. Thought of a differentiating criterion between these two labels. Anything more than a decade old is vintage, others would stay in the archive. Though the term archive for contemporary material may seem contradictory, but that shouldn't be too much of a concern as in a few years they would earn that status.]

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Leather on the Willow

Cricket Ball title=Ouch! The shoulders are still aching, but the pain is sweet. It was worth it. The sound of leather hitting the willow. Bliss! I heard and felt the sound after more than six years. Tennis ball cricket and the congestion and rush of metropolitan life had snatched away the little joys.

It was time for the inter-departmental cricket at work and I was pushed to the practice nets. Wary, whether after so long a time if I still knew how to hold a cricket bat and roll my arm over. The touch was missing and the joints had gathered quite some rust over the years. But the feel of the sewn red cherry between my fingers and later the willow in my hands made the ache and the bruises worthwhile.

It was yesterday and I wasn't in the shape to blog about it. Today, I missed the practice as it is my day off and so is tomorrow. The match is on Friday and therefore I'll not be in the team. Anyway, it was good to realise that even half a dozen years out of cricket, you don't exactly lose your touch, the legs might not move on the crease, the length and the line of bowling may be awry, but it is still there. Maybe cricket is something like cycling and swimming, you've learnt it once and it'll be there with you all your life. The feeling feels good as I cheer Team India to yet another victory over the Windies.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Rasna We Loved

The ad might not win any awards today, but in recall value it can beat many multi award winners.

Whether we loved Rasna or not, we surely do remember the 'I Love You Rasna' ad. A cuddly Ankita Jhaveri knows that her stuffed friends can't relish the Rasna therefore she helps herself with their share too.

Download video [FLV 1.6MB 00:00:34]

And boy has she grown up! Have a look at the pics below. An actress now, Ankita debuted in the Telugu film Lahiri Lahiri Lahiri Lo.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

The 123 Tag

As the Gaizabonts pointed out "we haven’t done tags in a long time," and put this my way. I'll first go along with the tag, since it requires immediacy and then will explain the intricacies.

There was a loud murmur in the crowd and Zauq sat with a complacent look on his face counting the beads of his pearl necklace.
"Is it true, Mirza Nausha?" the king emperor wanted to know.
"Yes, huzoor," Mirza Ghalib admitted, "It's true - it is the first verse of the concluding couplet of my new ghazal."
Zauq let the necklace go from his hand. The expression on his face was reduced to one of curiosity.
[From Mirza Ghalib - A Biographical Scenario by Gulzar]

Ten sentences:

Why is it that great abilities come piggybacking on equal egos? It is the mastery of ability over the ego that defines greatness and Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib possessed that. His spontaneous wit got him out of numerous cornered situations which he got himself in. Great that he was, was acknowledged in his lifetime, albeit a little late. But hailed he was, after his demise. Heard about him since childhood, only now that I'm getting to him better.

Ye masail-e tasawuff ye tera bayaan Ghalib
Tujhe hum wali samajhte jo na baadaa-khwaar hota

(Ah Ghalib, the magic of your words and your ways with mystics!
You would have been a saint - if you were not addicted to drink)
And now the reasoning behind the text above:

Pick up the book closest to you. (OK, you can cheat, pick up the book closest to you that you like; but that’s about it - no more cheating). Go to page 123. Go to the end of the fourth sentence (not line). Write the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth sentences in your post. Follow it up with ten words or ten sentences about what that sentence means to you - then and there. Spontaneous!

I didn't cheat (except for the concluding couplet). This book was the closest to my PC as it was the last book that I read. Was planning to write about the Mirza for sometime and this tag coincided.

Go ahead, pick your book.

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Master, Master, Teach Me Kung Fu

"Master, Master, teach me Kung fu."

"Kung fu is not child's play. You have to work very hard."

Enter the DragonThe Master is usually a drunkard and the pupil inevitably has to climb up steep slopes with buckets of water, as a part of the "hard work." Often the pupil is a weakling who gets beaten up by the toughies and seeks refuge with the Master. Sometime in between the Master or someone close to the pupil gets killed and the pupil goes out to seek revenge. The adversaries are also masters of the ancient art of Kung fu, therefore it is tough to beat them. But the Master had taught the pupil one masterstroke, usually known by some amusing name, such as "Snake in the Monkey's Shadow." And this is what does the trick when everything seems to be lost in the climax fight. There would also exist a love interest, another exponent of the martial arts and wooing involves some fisticuffs and flying kicks.

Most martial arts movies we watched as a kid were somewhat on these lines. Watched numerous of them, we did. Whenever we planned a night's stay at a friend's a martial arts movie was a must (other popular genres during our teenage pyjama parties were horror, comedy and adult. No romantic films). The movements were so fast that our eyes could hardly make anything of them and the stunts so impossible for us to even think of emulating, yet we enjoyed them. The action and the humour. Kung fu shoes were a style statement and entire afternoons were spent in perfecting that roundhouse kick and nunchaku (we also called it twin stick) occupied a place of pride on the bedroom wall. Evenings were spent debating the feats of Bruce Lee and the conspiracy behind his death (some believed that he was still around). Jackie Chan wasn't enigmatic as the Big Lee, but he sure was funny.

Maxim's The Greatest Martial Arts MomentsMaxim compiles a selection of The Greatest Martial Arts Moments (with the videos, of course). Heading the list is the greatest of them all - Enter the Dragon. Others in the list are:

2. Ong-Bak
3. The Crippled Masters
4. Hero
5. Drunken Master
6. The Karate Kid
7. Fearless
8. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
9. Kung Fu Hustle
10. Fist of Legend

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Archived Title Image No. 11

This archived title image is of magazines displayed by pavement booksellers at New Delhi's Connaught Place. Made many interesting discoveries here. Some unknown, unheard of publications with something interesting to read in them.

Magazines on display
Photographed October 1, 2006.

The description of the present title image will be made available on its retirement.

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Top Indian Internet Scandals

The Internet isn't a dump truck, it's a series of tubes. And many a reputation has gone swirling down those tubes, thanks to the Net's ability to expose scoundrels, scalawags, liars, cheats, and fools - and then broadcast the scandal to a billion glowing screens.

The PC World list of the Top 10 Internet Scandals of All Time includes, the Paris Hilton (and company) sex videos, internet giants sucking up to the Chinese censorship regime and the cigar-powered Monica-gate.

If we were to compile a desi version of the list, how many would make it to the list? With the limited internet penetration in the country, very few scandals exposed online would've had any widespread implications. Censorship is scandalous for a free democracy and therefore finds mention below.

Here are my takes (in no particular order):

1. The IIPM exposé (and the following battle with the bloggers)
It all began with JAM publishing (what most aware Indians were already aware of) a rebuttal of IIPM's tall claims, and then Gaurav Sabnis doing his bit and giving up his job in the process, followed by the Indian blogging community pitching in (there were some multi-million rupee legal notices in between).

2. Operation West End
The big baap of Indian sting journalism (it was quite sometime later that the Shakti Kapoor saga took the genre down the abyss). entered the conscience of the Indian public with greedy politicians, middle men and senior Army officials, caught on tape (by Aniruddha Bahal and Mathew Samuel) selling national security for the greens.

Then the witch-hunt began.
The editor of complained of efforts by the prime minister’s office to discredit the site, accusing it being in the pay of Pakistani intelligence and organised crime. The journalists who broke the scandal were physically threatened and had to be given heavy police protection ... For two years, the staff had been harassed and arrested, and had shrunk from 120 to three, and the site’s debts had mounted.

[A transcript of the tapes is available here]

There would be hardly any Indian porn-addict (and numerous non-addicts too) who haven't seen the clip involving two underage teens. The incident brought to light the menace that camera phones have become and reality-porn emerging as big business online and off it. A student posted a CD of the clip for sale on and its unsuspecting CEO Avnish Bajaj landed behind bars in the process.

4. The Blog block
One Friday night this blog wasn't accessible through my ISP, but things seemed fine when accessed via an anonymiser. Others also had similar experiences. And then the Big Indian Blog Block dawned upon us, with associated stupidity on the part of the administration. To block a few 'erring' blogs, ISPs restricted access to entire domains, especially Blogspot and WordPress. With previous experience of fighting it out from the IIPM Wars (see #2 above), the bloggers won but not before the international media drew comparisons between the India and its restrictive northern neighbour - China. Meanwhile Indian internet users learnt an important lesson, in using circumvention technologies and websites.

5. Kyunhun
In September 2003 Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in its first censorship action passed orders to block a Yahoo! group, 'Kyunhun,' for being linked to the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, a Meghalaya based militant outfit. Like it happened three years later during the Blog Block (see #4 above), ISPs ended up making all forums on Yahoo! Groups inaccessible.

6. Gandhi parody
A 29-year old professional comedian, clown, and yoga teacher, attempted a spoof on the Father of the Nation and posted the video online (on YouTube) titled "Time to get sexy." Some news channel noticed it a month later and the hullabaloo began. Others took the cue and ran the video on prime time television. The Indian Government and many Indians took offence. A show cause notice was issued to IBN 7 and Sahara by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and they subsequently apologised.

Gautham Prasad, the man at the centre of the controversy, defended himself thus

"I made this video and posted it on the internet as a marketing tool for my business as a performer... If you look closely, you can see that I am wearing a clown nose. Why is this? I do this because I am not playing Mahatma Gandhi, I am playing a CHARACTER who is playing Gandhiji. I am playing a fool who thinks it would be a good idea to dress up like Gandhi and do this dance. In reality, I'm making fun of myself. I realize this distinction may be difficult to understand, but as a performer it is crucial..."
They I&B Ministry contemplated action against YouTube, but the video still remains up there with 85,662 views on the last count. Many channels, newspapers and websites confused this video with a much older one titled "Gandhi 2," where a character dressed up as the Mahatma goes all guns blazing, typical Bollywood ishtyle. And there are many more out there, proving the point that even after half-a-century of his death, Gandhi sells. The Congress banks on him, Bollywood uses him, his descendants write about him and even Narendra Modi and Uma Bharati seek his succour. We may not trod on his path, but someone dare say anything against him...

[The videos may offend some sensibilities. User discretion is advised]

(Please help lengthen the list)

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Isspecial Cutting Chai - December 2006

The tagline reads "a repository of (mostly) useless information, since 2005." Vijay Krishna, from Chennai, India, has been taking forward his personalised encyclopedic expedition since May 2005 (the time when I also began ventured into this addictive blogisthan, actually my first post was two days older than his. Jingalala!). Like many of us, he started off with Blogger, but later moved on to his personal domain (powered by WordPress) during the Blog Block.

After a long time visited his blog physically (had been reading posts on the feed reader for long) and liked the Tulip Time theme.

The (belated) ninth Isspecial Cutting Chai (December 2006) is offered to Vijay of VKpedia for his interesting (and not useless) takes on the world of sports.

He writes on other things too, for me sports (cricket and football) is his forte. And it is more appropriate considering there are tea breaks in cricket.

Previous sipper: Bong Mom's Cookbook (November 2006)

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Humko Binnies Mangta

(Translates to "we want Binnies." But the Bambaiya appeal can't be translated) Is Binnies chips still available? The jingle was catchy and consumed a few packets as a result. Uncle Chipps used to be the most popular chips in town. Now it is Lays, and deservedly so (though both now belong to the same stable after Frito-Lay bought over the brand).

Don't know the exact period when this ad was aired but Binnies chips was launched by Jagatjit Industries Limited (who also produce Aristocrat liquor) in 1988.

Download video [WMV 757 KB 153kbps 00:00:28 Stereo 320X240]

There's a strike on in the tea gardens. The government is planning a SEZ there. Therefore the Isspecial Cutting Chai for December 2006 couldn't be brewed in time (actually was a little preoccupied over the last month). Anyway, a compromise formula is being worked out and the tea should start flowing from the factories soon. The SEZ will produce processed tea, so say sources.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A House for a Sparrow

A House for a SparrowShe came into my life, actually my toilet, and gave me company every time I went inside to answer nature's call. This house sparrow made herself comfortable in a wall cavity meant for an electrical appliance. Every night she was there, with her eyes shut and feathers fluffed up, until one of us had to use the loo and turned on the lights. She looked disturbed, but didn't seem to mind much and stayed perched on the protruding electrical wires. Nevertheless, we made it a point to convey our apologies to her.

One night, a few nights ago, I got this 'bright' idea about blogging about our resident sparrow. Obviously, there had to be photographic evidence to support my story. I took my camera inside for a few snapshots. Paparazzi wary that she was, fluttered away after only a few clicks. Never to return again to the hole in my toilet wall.

PS I have no idea whether the sparrow was a he or she. Any ornithologists out there?

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Agra on the move

Not by design, neither was it an accident. But this New Year's eve, not a drop of the stuff that Bacchus lords over went down my throat. I had been to Agra (my second visit) and Fatehpur Sikri (my first). Returned late at night, just an hour before the calendars changed, dead tired. I like to travel, but vocation and scarcity of vacation doesn't allow my mobile to be on networks other than NCR (I have to hold on to my leaves for the not so long sojourns to Shillong, my hometown).

Was browsing through the photographs and noticed the different modes of transportation that my camera captured during the trip. Here's a tribute to India on the move.

Pony Cart

Vikram - Three Wheeler

Whatever - Desi Ingenuity





Train - Himsagar, the train with the longest route in India (Jammu Tawi to Kanyakumari)

Car - Ambassador



Cycle Rickshaw


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Say Cheese, Chèvre Cheese

A goat at Fatehpur Sikri

A goat posing for me on the steps of Fatehpur Sikri (Notice the smile on her lips).

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Umbilici in Amar Chitra Katha

Amar Chirta Katha, that venerable source of history and mythology for an entire pre-cable TV and internet generation also gratified other needs of pubescent boys. Ludwig at ships, shoes, sealing wax (I don’t know whether he sells the stuff too) offers us An Introduction to Ancient Indian Navel Architecture, With Some Observations on Contemporary Popular Historiography, where he analyses the art of different illustrators and concludes "that the Amar Chitra Kathas had had a much more formative effect on one's psyche than one had hitherto suspected."

[Via Desipundit]

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Decked Up for a Fresh Year

A city bus in Delhi decorated for the new year

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