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Amitava Kumar attempts to capture the essence of Patna in a short biography, quite unattractively titled 'A Matter of Rats'.
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Dressed in jeans? Feasting on chowmein? A Twitter parody of a disapproving khap panchayat is ready with a rap on the knuckle that makes you chuckle.
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Is your vadge too brown?
Just how high did your eyebrows fly when you saw the ad for Clean and Dry Intimate Wash, a feminine hygiene product that swears to deliver fresher and fairer vaginas? Yes, I said vaginas - they are apparently the new problem zone in the world of fairness creams. The product concept is sheer lunacy. But once my helpless giggles subsided, I decided to objectively analyze the ad - hello, we must give every concept a fair chance. Six vodkas later, here are a few of my dead serious observations.
I'm beginning to wonder if this ad is a fashion statement of sorts to joyfully announce that innocent G-strings are out - the hidden message seems to suggest that naughty crotchless panties are the new thing to get him all hot and sweaty, so hurry up and get with it! Or rather, without it. Also, kinky sex toys like whips and chains belong to the T-Rex era, and have been replaced with kinkier periscopes and pencil torches - they're what you really, really, really need to get the mirror in the bedroom deliciously foggy. That being said, I'm terribly astonished that the background track of this ad wasn't the suggestive Flo Rida song that goes, "You spin my head right round right round, when you go down, when you go down down. " Oh well, I'm sure the ad guys enthusiastically suggested it but couldn't afford the royalties.
However, for a product concept as wacko as this, I'm disappointed that the script followed the deathly dull and boring 'Before and After' format that's been used for BO/dandruff/bad breath/stained teeth/wrinkles /constipation/stretch marks et cetera. I mean come on, the husband barely notices his wife till she tries the product. We know for sure she's tried it because there's a daring graphic demo of the product working its magic. Cut to the wife jumping up and down on a sofa in shorts while the husband is drooling (strong crotchless panty implication). On the other hand, we can't trash this script completely because the graphic demo will be remembered fondly by sniggering little boys who got their first taste of porn before they discovered Dad's secret stash of mags/DVDs.
It goes without saying that this ad is bound to raise the hackles of the Proud-to-be-Brown-Indians brigade who oppose fairness products passionately. I have to shamefully confess that I wasn't outraged though - I was so busy rolling on the floor with mirth I had absolutely no time to fret and fume at the foolish Indian obsession with white skin. Also, I'm a rather reasonable person. Heck, if your idea of beauty is to look like a pale glass of milk, go right ahead and slather on fairness creams/gels/whatever.
If you believe that these products really will help you to become an air-hostess and get paid handsomely to see the world as those idiotic ads promise, why not? Please note that it's not advisable to look down your nose on fairness cream manufacturers: they may notice that your nostrils resemble black holes and cannily invent a specialized fairness cream to lighten them up.
On the flip side however, this strange product may help your romance along considerably - if you're dating a womb weary 'been there, seen that' gynaecologist, that is. Another positive is, the outrage over this ad may freshen up Eve Ensler's tedious Vagina Monologues with a nice Indian twist. I'm eagerly waiting for a scathing monologue on nasty Indian men who torture their wives if they don't use fairness creams down under.
Personally, though, I'd like to believe that this product actually does not exist and the ad is merely brilliant satire on the Indian obsession with white skin. The creator must have been disgusted at the rash of fairness products for specialised zones like underarms and firmly decided that it was about time we put a stop to this nonsense before it goes any further. I bet the next satirical ad in this series will be for whiter ear canals and perhaps even a special fairness cream for blood - dark red is so ugly, isn't it? Well, this is my belief and I'm sticking to it.
Finally, I absolutely have to say this: I'm terribly intrigued that the company that manufactures this product is called Midas Care. In which case, shouldn't the product turn the colour of your V-zone to gold instead? I think this is a valid question if you consider that Indians are as crazy about gold as they are about white skin. So hell, why not?
GULAB IS AN AUTHOR AND COLUMNIST
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