Driving in India – Authority

So you have managed to negotiate the pedestrians and the cattle…..but watch out…..particularly in foggy winter evenings or rainy monsoon days……that is the time the municipal authorities suddenly remember that the central median has to be restored and decorated. So there may be loose blocks of stone scattered around the central verge.

Why do authorities do this ‘road maintenance’ in the monsoon…..because they want the city looking ‘beautiful’ come the Independence day (August 15). Why do they do it in the foggy winter because again they want the Republic Day (January 26) Chief Guest – some despot from a neighbouring developing country – to feel that India is beautiful.

While in New Delhi you could also be caught in long queues of waiting vehicles because of the ‘VIP movement’. Whenever the senior leaders of the ruling party, the Prime Minister, zillions of ex-Prime Ministers, Presidents, Lok Sabha (the Parliament of India) Speaker decide to go out….the traffic for miles around their path is stopped by the police. I haven’t understood for the life of me how that helps any body’s security…..it opens up opportunities for the terrorists to cause mass destruction.

Similar is the case when traffic police create ‘slalom’ like temporary barricades on already congested roads, mostly in the dusky evening time. I have found it always bizarre that a policeman with a flashlight is able to see amongst the beams of headlight the right vehicle to stop for questioning !!??

And another example of Indian authority is the bureaucrats from the roads and transport ministries who get chauffeur driven cars. They sit reading their morning paper while being driven through the congestion, around the barricades, between cattle. Of course they also do not need to park their cars……Parking Chaos in another edition… watch out …. I have authority over atleast this series of blogs 🙂


Driving in India – Pedestrians and Animals

Driving in India (भारत ) must be one of the toughest. In this series of articles I will tell you why. If some one has driven a car in India then they can drive a bus anywhere in the world (slight exaggeration I must admit !!)

The most significant thing is that might is right. Hence amongst various models even in the smallest car segment there is a clear balance of power. The small cars push the mid-size ones and they push out the larger ones  This is because the maintenance cost gets higher with the size and also the brand.

Most places in India do not offer much walking pleasure for the pedestrians. People on foot in turn do not also leave any stone un-turned (at times quite literally) in making life hell for the motorist; just depends on the place and time. In the day on crowded roads pedestrians just do not bother and dare the motorists to come close. Little street urchins are ot too far behind and they play adventure games of trying to cross the road running across fast coming vehicles.

And how can we forget the stray dogs and cattle and at times their leisurely herdsman. Herds of Cows, Sheeps and goats are common, but at times herds of camel can be seen in Gurgaon and one can also see Elephants sauntering on the roads of Delhi.

The biggest hazard among the animals are the cows and bulls lazing in the middle of the highway or those that decide to cross the road after having grazed the plants on the median.

This is just the beginning – wait for more hazards on the roads of India particularly the National Capital region (NCR) of India – Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ghaziabad

Cele-brand …. a romantic story

Samjhe na - Lalitaji of Surf

The biggest celebrities in India are the film stars. Film stars mean glamour and therefore, it is natural that one of the first known endorsements by an Indian celebrity is recorded in early 1940s, by actress Leela Chitnis, for the beauty soap called Lux.

Lux has been one of the biggest and the most recalled brands for its celebrity affiliation,   as it has been endorsed by almost all the leading ladies of Bollywood and still counting.

Over the history of Indian advertising brands have been endorsed by celebrities. But, many a times, there have been instances when the actor in the advertisement has become a celebrity after that commercial has become popular.

Strangely, two of the most popular non actor celebrities in Indian commercials have been one ad wonders….. The Murphy baby and the Liril waterfall girl Karen Lunel who  both remain the face of the brand they advertised even after many decades.

Many of the modern day actors like Deepika Padukone, Yami Gautam, John Abraham Bipasha Basu, Shahid Kapoor and many others in the past, as well, were models who turned film actors later, owing to the popularity they earned with their ads.

A few others like Maya Alag with her “offoh” in the Promise toothpaste ad, and Savita Chaudhary for saying “Samjhe na” in the Surf washing powder ad, became celebrities for getting that unique recall value for those commercials.

There were also macho men like Karan Kapoor and Shekhar Kapur who did commercials  for suiting and apparels, became quite famous, but never achieved the Bollywood star status.

There have also been, but no small matter, of little children most notably a girl called Ankita Jhaveri, who captured the affection of the Indian masses with her “i love you rasna” innocence in a series of endearing advertisements for this make at home soft drink mix.

Besides the obviously and easily recognisable personalities of the film world, classical musicians, sports persons and other artists have also been used for their celebrity status to create mass appeal commercials

I will continue this tale of wonderful world of Indian advertising and the celebrities and their mutual love affair.