Dum lagaa ke

Although I’ll never forget the Nirma advertisement with the little girl in the white dress, I quite liked this new one. I love the way they’ve got little details of  people standing by and recording on their phones instead of helping. So true! The advertisement is particularly nice considering the only role a woman plays in most advertisements even now is of a concerned wife worried about cooking oil and oats.

Nirma advertisement 2011

This ad reminds me of an incident some 2-3 weeks ago. We were all dressed up and headed out for a party one very hot evening when we came across a stalled car at a busy intersection. The poor driver was all alone, struggling to push it out of the way and holding up traffic. The OA drove past so as to not hold up traffic and parked the car with me and the kids in the shade of a tree. Then he jumped out and rushed off to help the driver, glaring at me with a –  ‘Not with the way your knees are.’

Whenever we’ve had the misfortune of our car stalling, there have always been people willing to help push it and I was quite surprised that the poor man had received no offers of help (was it because he was a drivr and not a sahib?). The driver on the other hand was shocked when the immaculately dressed, freshly shaved OA appeared out of nowhere and began to push the car with him. I got out of the car and began to direct traffic away from the car being pushed to avoid a jam. Right next to our car, under the same tree stood a lady fanning herself indifferently and watching us.

They finally pushed through the traffic and came and stopped it behind us. I took out a bottle of water for the OA and he stood there for a moment drinking water and checking with the driver if he’d managed to call the service helpline to be towed. The man assured him that he would do it, that he needed no more help. And all this while the lady stood next to us, saying nothing. As we got in to the car to leave, the driver turned to the woman and said, ‘Ma’am, aap taxi leke aage nikal jaeeye, main yahan intezaar karta hoon.’

I was so… taken aback. Maybe she didn’t want to push the car in the heat and had left the poor guy struggling for whatever reason (maybe her knees were bad too!). But she stood there and saw us help her driver and didn’t have the decency to even say Thank You!

Also, speaking of advertisements, I took the Bean for a trim yesterday and while we waited our turn I caught some really shady serial – Some young girl whose husband wants her to study and her mother in law wants her to make tea. She stands there, head bowed, blinking like a gold fish, turning helplessly from one to another with no say over her own time or life. The www has seen enough rants about soaps projecting women in such a regressive manners so I will not wax eloquent upon it, but I am shocked anew each time I catch one myself. No wonder we still hear about dowry deaths and female foeticide. My driver is on two days leave for his court hearing – his brother in law strangled his sister to death because they couldn’t give more dowry than a car. Welcome to Haryana.  Thankfully before the show made me burst a blood vessel, an ad break came up and this Stayfree ad came on – rather ironic. Women being active during their period is all very well, really, we get the picture, but must they zoom up her butt?!

Stayfree advertisement 2011


40 thoughts on “Dum lagaa ke

  1. Don’t get me started on TV serials. I may already have burst a vessel or two . DILs languishing hungrily while MIL cooks up a storm in the kitchen for her own daughter because she’s pregnant and makes DIL go hungry because she’s not pregnant yet ?! Have they no idea PizzaHut delivers ?!! Clearly I am no Ekta Kapoor .

    The stayfree ads make me squeamish when in company of resident 6-year old who want to know why “aunty” is still wearing a diaper. Also have been recommended “Have a happy period” in the feminine hygiene aisle in the supermarket. I smile tolerantly like a new-age mom while wanting the earth to swallow me up.

  2. I like this Nirma ad too. Especially the look one of the women give after they push the ambulance out. Just the right amount of scorn. This makes up for that horrendous ad where Sanjeeda scolds the dirty water into not splashing her. I still haven’t quite understood that one! (I also like the fact that they’ve essentially kept the same jingle through the years…a nice point of continuity.)
    And almost all the sanitary napkin ads have butt zoom-ins. The all-night ones are even worse (and really, are there people who wear white to bed when they’re having their periods? REALLY? :O)

  3. Hey MM, nice commercial. I hardly get to watch TV these days.
    On a different note, have you seen this ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVPhdOBk2kM. I got so irritated with this subtle display of casteism. Did you notice the contrast between the appearance of the guy the girl is seen with in the beginning and the guy (in the photo) she finally married, thanks to the lifesaver community-matrimony? It is not only the ‘fair and lovely’ commercials that try to influence people into judging others based on their exterior. I want to tell the lady in the commercial that in today’s times even guys of her community (or whatever) can also have long hair or a ponytail.

  4. A friend’s family was in a car crash at the expressway recently. The car skidded off the road and fell into a stream below. Only one person survived the crash. When she regained consciousness she climbed back onto the highway and tried to hail down passing cars. NO ONE STOPPED. For the longest time. Thinking about the cars whizzing past her given the state she was in shakes me to the core of my being.

    I keep getting forwards from people warning that you should never stop on the expressway, there are gangs waiting to rob you, and their usual trick is a woman hailing you down, or eggs thrown at the windscreen etc. We are all so damn worried that the next villager wants to rob us of our precious two cents, and that there is a gang lurking round the corner to steal our precious car, that we drive past a desperate looking woman asking for help.

    It is sick. The world we are creating for our children is sick!

    • You know its not just fear – its apathy. No one wants to get late for that party/meeting/movie. No one wants to get dirty or sweaty. No one wants to get involved in a police case more importantly.
      A few days ago we were driving home in the rain and a man and wife with child on a bike got hit by a car, they skid and went flying across the road. I screeched and we stopped, got out in the rain and went running to them. they were typical middle class stoics, got up, checked for broken limbs and shrugged off our concern. We asked if we could drop the wife and child at a hospital, anything, they said no. And around us, people stopped and no one got out of their cars because it was raining and the road was dirty and slushy.

      getting chills thinking of your friend’s family….

  5. I liked the new Nirma ad too!
    Regards the car incident ,I’ve witnessed the poor driver struggling to push the stalled car to the side all by himself with the Memsaab & sometimes the Saab too safely encosed inside .

  6. The lady in the above car incident reminds me of an incident that happened in my office. One evening I went down to the basement and our driver was just about to bring our car out. We saw this gentleman (obviously from my office) neatly attired and frowning at his punctured tyre. Lets call him Mr. X. My driver looked at me to check if it was ok if we were delayed by a couple of minutes and he proceeded to help this chap. Our poor driver soiled his fingers and replaced the tyre with the spare while Mr X stood there folding his hands!! Mr X’s expression looked like it was the driver’s duty to do such things!! When he was finally done, Mr X muttered a meek thank you and proceeded (mind you No Smile or expression of gratitude).
    Donno what got into me. I walked over straight and told him…’Look he has done you a favor. He is a poor guy. Why don’t you pay him for his service?’ I had a good mind to tell him…’Assume if he were not around…you would have to walk about 2 kms to get hold of someone to change your tyre and here is someone who just walked in to help you out!!’ With my stern attack he was at a loss for words and he pulled out a generous FIFTY bucks from his wallet and gave it to my driver. My idea was not to fleece money from him (and mind you…my company is one among the good paymasters among the sw companies in Bangalore!!) but somehow his attitude put me off and I just wanted to retort in someway! And honestly if I were in a situation like his, I would have been really grateful for any help that came my way.

  7. Thank-you I thought no one else had noticed the new improved zoom into the butt shot!!! It’s a good ST we get the point, but must you make it fly into her ass? Soooo creepy! The Nirma ad (and man I do love that classic jingle) is really nice and right you are, for once women are doing more than worry about how clean their house it and if their husband is eating right!

    God how rude!!! Why wouldn’t she thank you?!!! Some people are unbelievable!

    The TV soaps are such a pain, I sometimes catch snippets while flipping channels and it makes my head spin. The thing that gets to me is, some of these shows start of by saying things like a new story about a spirited girl or a girl looking after her family of some such and 50 episodes in she is married and being ill-treated by her husband/in-laws/world at large and her spirit is all gone as she strives to cook up a storm.

  8. Wow. Love the ad. But I have always found people to be helpful whenever our car got stuck or when we need directions. Cars whizzing by while you are stuck is more of a west scenario (or so I thought)

  9. Yes, Nirma ad makes me gloat.

    As for the other kind of soaps….it’s a long journey between stereotypes for women….from Kabhi Sautan Kabhi Saheli to Desparate Housewives.

  10. Zooming up at her butt makes sense because although the ad targets the female viewership, one has to take into account the other set of eyes.. 🙂

  11. Hi MM.. Work has been insanely busy and I’m working 15 hours a day, so not getting the time to comment on your space.. I do read whenever i get the chance.

    Wanted to check-in on SIL? I hope she is getting better?

  12. MM,

    Hope your SIL is doing better.

    I’ve never seen a situation where there has been an accident and people haven’t stopped to help. In fact, some times, we stopped to pitch in and actually ended up moving on after realising that there were already enough people helping out, the ambulance had been called for, water offered, car towed etc. So there is hope yet, I guess!

  13. On an unrelated note, any suggestions for a creative, smart kid around 10 years of age? It’s a boy, very interested in reading and debating, curious about nature and the world around him. We just got him educational toys and books, so don’t want to repeat that. Want something that will add value, not something like clothes or games. Please to help. Am totally clueless.

  14. Hi MM,

    Been reading your blog for a while now..In fact, I check your blog every morning. 🙂 love your writing and the way you make everything you write about seem so interesting.. 🙂 Especially love reading about the Brat and the Bean.. 🙂 And your posts always fill me with a feeling of positivity.. 🙂 A great way to start my day.. 🙂


  15. You must be talking about Saath Nibhana Saathiya….currently one of the top rated shows 🙂 I know because my job forces me to be updated on these things . These TV serials are regressive , no doubt , but they are also showing what is true (albeit with high doses of exaggeration / melodrama), but little what i have experienced in my career/ life over 10 years in India and 6 in Singapore , i have seen , unfortunately 80 % of what they show on TV is not unreal (if not 100% real).

    I live in Singapore and have a wide Indian social circle and meet many Indian wives who come from small towns and have seen how they are being treated by their husbands , in laws etc …..I have heard horror stories of domestic violence, suppression , lack of recognition(i mean husbands do not take their wives for functions in the fear of embarrassment), marital rape …yup all this in Singapore !!!!

    I completely agree that there is no justification of glorifying the negative..but the only point ( a sad one at that) am trying to make is unfortunately …some of it is true

  16. I wrote a huge rant about these serials. They are so so regressive. Fighting this mentality that men are superior is going to be an uphill task for this country. Sometimes it is so depressing.

    Though, good on Nirma for this ad. I respect the brand a bit more now!

  17. Hi MM, I have been wondering abt your absence too..and been checking the blog to see if you have returned. Saw some new comments published today. Just hoping everything is fine at your end. Much love and wishes. Come back soon with some happening fun posts!!

  18. Missing your posts, MM :(:(.. the silence is deafening around here…

    Pls just write a line and tell us that all is OK there ..*worried*

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