How to insult your customer-and hope she will still buy your product

Hindustan Times, yes, the same which gives an exhortation of ‘Let there be Light’ in the general direction of no one in particular, has hit (literally, as you shall find out) on the perfect idea to get customers : insult their intelligence, whip them and then, show them the light..presumably, so they can count the whiplashes. Oh, and yes, congratulate themselves while they are whipping their customers.
They have come up with a radio ad which has a guy who is enforcing…hold your breath…New Year Resolutions. And, he punishes those who have broken them by whipping them (only the sound of whipping is heard, the cry of the whippee is not..nor are the cries of the people who hear the ad…the ‘silent majority’)

So, this enforcer asks one guy about his NYR (New Year Resolution). The poor guy cries and tells the NYRE ( NYR Enforcer, who by the way, has a mighty strange accent) that he had promised to give up smoking. This is followed by the sound of a whip. Then, the NYRE asks a girl about her NYR…she says, I had resolved to go jogging in the Next year…NYRE says, this is Next Year (This is perhaps the only humour that you will come across in this ad. Laugh your guts out. Now.)and whips her as well…then, he turns his sadistic attention to the ‘Hindustan Times people’ who had resolved to give better content in the Next Year…and they did. So, no whipping sound follows. Then, NYRE turns to another poor slob. He had resolved to read a better newspaper. And he is still reading the old one. Guess what happens next? Yup. Whippie-di-doo. Followed by the Let there be light slogan.

I don’t know about you, but after hearing this, one of the main reasons why I prefer my current newspaper is because I have less chances of being cornered by them or their goons and being whipped for not following my New Year Resolutions. This ad, I am sure, has made Intelligence and Good Sense to come out, hands in the air, waving white flags, ready to be whipped. My hats off to the creative director(s).


Rudraksha- Red Eye Correction

Continuing with the absolute bombardment of ridiculous claims , this week I bring you – Rudraksha, the answer to all human problems and suffering!

Rudraksha, which literally means ‘red eye’ or ‘eye of Shiva’ can cure a lot of things: it can lead to tremendous success in professional and personal life, it can help you ward off evil spirits, effects of voodoo ( so explicitly shown in an awe inspiring animation in one of the ads I shall write about later… a computer generated skull and bones and a voodoo doll homing in at a constant speed towards another animation of a man wearing a rudraksha product and then, due to the force field around the caricature, caused by the glowing rudraksha ‘protection system’ around his neck, disintegrating into computer generated dust…ahh…sheer visual banquet), make you popular and cure your pimples/wrinkles ( no cure for stupidity or gullibility, alas).

There are two ‘television shopping networks’ that peddle the stuff and both have (for lack of better words) celebrity endorsements. In the red corner, making you see red, is Arun Govil, former soft pr0n star, later divine actor (who played, hold your breath: maryaada Purushottam Ram, the incarnation of Vishnu known for temperence and monogamy, the ‘best among men’). In the blue corner, we have Bheeshma Pitamaha (no, it does not mean ‘Great Greek Bread’ but refers to the patriarch of the family) of Mahabharat, Mukesh Khanna, who spent the last episodes on Mahabharat looking much like a voodoo doll himself, then skewered our senses like a voodoo doll by appearing in red tights (underpants over pants, but of course) in a serial called Shaktimaan (‘Powerful’ which seems to be the case, since it never runs out of sponsors or repeating the same shit over and over again)

The modus operandi is different for both: Govil is calm and simple, with a beatific, never fading smile that makes you wish for an interactive 3 D TV, so that you can bash that irritating smile off.

Khanna, on the other hand, bursts into inspiring purple prose at the drop of a topi, his voice quaking with absolute belief, probably in the fact that the director will pay him his full wages.

During the ads, you have small time actors with negligible acting ability giving you the before and after picture of how they led lives in the suburbs of Loserville till the rudraksha came along and gave them health, wealth, happiness, children and what not. They try to convince you to make the move (to their abandoned houses in Loserville, probably), with subtle (!), convincing arguments.

To help you in your attainment, the sellers have also, very thoughtfully, in my opinion, provided cassettes that include chanting mantras repeatedly till you are hypnotized and ready to lift cars and a Shivling, made of crystal ( I think; am not sure of the material)…Also provided is a booklet of chants and how to take care of your precious rudraksha.

For more ridiculous information, you can go here.

Some gems (or is it rudrakshas?) :

Note:- The below mentioned benefits are just general effects. We strongly advice that you consult a proper astrologer or an expert in this field before you buy a Rudraksha and not procure a bead on the basis of the information given here.


The Site begins with:

Rudraksha, the most powerful and awesome bead ever. This bead can help you achieve all you want – a healthy mind, body and soul, a wealthy life that many dream of and only some achieve, and a happy you making you the target of many a envy. Words in the dictionary fall short of describing the immense powers of the Rudrakshas. For thousands of years mankind has benefited immensely from them. But how can today’s technology wizard use them to his advantage? What would you get from it?…. Well let’s find out.

To a Question on ‘do Rudrakshas really work?’ the answer is:

Of course they do… but not always. Acquiring an authentic Rudraksha is a challenge in itself. But the hunt doesn’t stop there. If the bead has not been purified, sanctified and energised, it is as useful as a button on your shirt!!!

(And after all that energizing, it becomes as useful as…?)

There is a section called ‘Facts’ which I was immediately attracted to, to find a section called: “are there any definitive tests?”

I naively assumed they would talk about the efficacy and track record, but the answer that is given is:

Unfortunately, no. There are no definitive tests to test the authenticity of a Rudraksha except the discerning eye of an expert.

Translated, it means that the ‘experts’ will continue to fleece more and more people on the basis of their unknown expertise. Sigh.

Update: Where can you find the Rudrakshas as well as the wonderful zodiac rings and pendants? Right here, at I swear, I am not making this stuff up. Added bonus: you will also find Bejan Daruwalla (still not known which daru-that’s liquour- he has been imbibing all these years) here, who seems to either have a hotline with Lord Ganesh or megalomania and therefore, runs a column called ‘Ganesha says’

One Ring to find them all and in Stupidity, bind them

‘Zodiac Power Rings, made of Pacnhadatu (sic) are creating waves the world over with their unique ability to change the course of people’s destiny by making them extra confident, focused, self-willed & more in Touch with themselves.’ (Other sic’s might have been missed)

This is an ad on the front page of the Mumbai Mirror, dated Monday, October 23 2006.

As you can see, the attractive ad is flanked by attractive models, who claim things like “My Zodiac Power Ring makes me a winner everytime(sic again)”

Sustained follow up to access the web site given in the ad, did not lead to too much success.

If those TV channels peddling special rudrakshas, crystal ‘yantras’, candles and what not were not enough, now we have newspapers carrying these ads as well.

(Am sure that newspapers allowed people who peddled these things to advertise before, simply because print is a much older medium, and gullibility and intense desire to make a quick buck are even older)

Needless to say, not a single reason is given why these rings make you winners or help you find long lost confidence. Claim upon grandiose claim is made in bombastic, arbit, general purpose pfaff. (Trust me, as an HR guy, I can recognize globe language pretty easily.)

Two other very interesting points:

1. The ad says: If not satisfied within 15 days. (sic) 80% refund on bill amount Rs.1500/- only. I am not very sure what that means, but if we assume that these guys would pay back Rs.1200 for purchases worth Rs.1500 after 15 days of non-satisfaction (they are not making a no questions asked return, mind you!), they still pocket Rs.300. That’s an interest of 480% p.a. What a business!!

2. They also warn people to check the ‘zpr’ logo for ‘original’. So, it seems that there are actually some me-too entrepreneurs who have realized the extent of the Blind Faith and Stupidity Market and are smart enough to piggy back on the success of these guys by simply plagiarizing their products.

Don’t know if this thing works for the buyers, but if I were the seller, “My Zodiac Power Ring makes me a Winner everytime”

The Millennium of Miracles – a review without watching the movie

This is the millennium of MIRACLES…

Sea water has turned sweet…

Idols have sipped on milk…

Statues have shed tears of blood…


Come… Seek Her blessings…

(Sic everywhere)

This is the print ad for ‘Jai Santoshi Maa’ (Hail Mother Santoshi)..more (probably accurate) information about Santoshi Maa here.

When there is enough evidence to prove that all the above mentioned miracles are not miracles…( here, here and here, for example, and for the third one, some more information here)

And pray(heh) , why do miracles happen in such ways? If I were an all powerful entity, I would try to get some, err, result orientation in my miracles, so that my simple (note the sarcasm) folk can get the message without having to make long winded logical connections. I mean, I make my statues weep blood. Or, I make sea water arund a shrine of mine turn sweet. What’s the point? Whay would I, as a Supreme Being do that? Might as well give my people some Majestic ‘darshan’ (Vision) of myself, complete with flying angels/assorted Gods/ multiple hands/Assorted Gods with multiple hands/ all of the above or as per your specific religious inclination.

Coming back to the ad, it is clearly meant to bring down the IQ of people to make more money for the producers and the gang involved in it.
How is this movie related to the miracles? Will we have Santoshi Ma, the latest entrant in the Hindu pantheon of Gods, turning sea water sweet, cry bloody tears or have her idol drink milk?

I have seen these type of movies before, so let me attempt to review this movie, in what is probably the first review of some work by a person who has not seen it.
Here goes : pretty, pious girl gets married into a rich family, where she is treated to various indignities for various reasons such as not bringing in enough dowry, not bearing a child or son, or just because she shows blind devotion to her favourite goddess, whom the film is named after (or the in laws feel like being the nasty sadists that they are)… pretty heroine starts/continues to pray piously, while she is being kicked, beaten, given unbelievable amount of household work, refused food, refused intimacy by her husband, and so on.
Suddenly, the goddess wakes up, solves the problem by doing something sufficiently nasty to her in laws, giving the husband a nice little attack of paralysis and doing other minor miracles along the way( Gods/ Godesses, as a rule, seem to make up for lack of result orientation in their real life ‘miracles’ in the movies). Pious heroine prays for forgiveness (notice the pious prayer recurring theme with the heroine?) and the in laws, shitting bricks by now in mortal fear of the immortal, have a heart ( and pants) change…husband, after being carried by the pious wife to pray (yes, again) at the HQ of the Goddess, suddenly turns out OK, and then, pious husband and wife pray and live happily ever after, having the requisite number of sons and probably a daughter (to keep it politically correct), thus demonstrating that the target of marital bliss is also hit along the way.

Go on, watch the movie if you want, and tell me if it is significantly different. You’ll probably get an ice cream from me ( or a word of encouragement regarding your inspiring, effective utilization of free time)

The name, the name

The word India, it turns out, came from the wrong pronunciation of the word Hindu, the old Persian word for Sindhu. It was later further wrongly pronounced as Indos by the Greeks, who had similar speech problems and then the Romans started calling the whole region India to save the bother.

The Sanskrit word “sindhu” means ‘sea’.(Please read the link given earlier completely for clarification) Apparently, some bright ancestors of ours (who, to be fair to them, had probably never seen the sea), mistook the big and broad Indus river for the sea.

So, the name of our country is a triple mispronunciation of a wrongly identified water body.

Somehow, in a weird sort of way, it explains a lot.