Monthly Archives: January 2008

Mindgames

They played with each other, taunting, challenging, and trying to outdo each other. It was exciting, and though it wasn’t the first time, they never got bored. It really didn’t matter who came first, and who came second, the fun was in playing, not in the result. Scrabble, a game, a form of textual intercourse.

until next time, double word, double meaning :)

Impositioning

No, thats not an opposite, more a reminder of the days in school when we were made to write a spelling or a multiplication table multiple times in a bid to make us memorise it. Can’t remember if it worked, though the Bart Simpson version of imposition during the Simpsons titles works for me :)

But we aren’t a sitcom blog, so the blog title refers to the stance taken by a lot of brands as far as positioning goes. While i do not even contest the importance of positioning during the launch of a product, i definitely argue on hanging on to a positioning, especially if it is in the form of a tagline. This is an era in which brands are being forced to re-consider their existence strategy on the face of a changing media and user landscape, and to carry on a love affair with a tagline might be absolute harakiri.

My favourite examples of  brands which have reinvented itself consistenctly, and been succesful at it would be Pepsi and MTV. Pepsi was cool when they made iconic lines like ‘Yehi hain right choice baby’, ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ , ‘Nothing Official about it’, and they’re still cool when they make Shah Rukh an ‘uncle’, even though some people refer to it unfairly as an ad for SRK’s and John’s toilets. MTV was hot when Nonie (sigh) used to be around, and still is er, with Cyrus ;). The difference between the two youth brands is that while pepsi could not change the product, and has to resort to positioning and packaging and other innocations like say, gaming to keep being cool, MTV had the liberty to change content to suit a changing young generation, but both have done a commendable job without hanging on to lines for too long.

Look around, and you’ll see taglines which are redundant, and ones which cause more harm than good. This is a case in point. I wish the energy and time spent on evolving catchy taglines would also be spent on making better products and delivering better service. Rather than trying to impose a certain point of view on the audience’s mind by repeating catch phrases for years, wouldn’t it be much better to deliver a good product/service and communicate it effectively in the right context?

And yes, the reason Bart’s imposition works for me is because he changes it in every episode and still keeps it funny. He evolves.

Cafe Masala

Cafe Masala is brought to you by the BJN group, and has ‘Aromas of China’ and ‘Vaayu’ for neighbours on the top floor of Eva Mall, Brigade Road.

We made reservations in advance, and i think a wait of about 15 minutes would’ve happened if not for that. We were given a reasonably good table, with comfortable seating, though some poor staff were dealt with sternly by my wife when they tried to pull one of our chairs for an adjoining table. She treats the results of our shopping expeditions with a great deal of adoration, you see, and so, those covers on the floor would be sacrilege.

While the menu does have some continental stuff, a lot of it is meant for the evening snacks category, and not dinner. But we did manage to get some corn soup, which was quite good. And like good mix and matchers, we ordered mutton pepper chops, murgh bhartha, kulcha and butter naan for the main course.  The mutton chops gravy was awesome, though not recommended for people with low spice tolerance. The chicken was also good, but for once, was overshadowed by the above. And yes, special mention for the fact that they gave us a Lachcha Paratha instead of the Butter Naan, and when we pointed it out, we were told that this was how Butter Naan was made here, but it could be replaced. We’re yet to figure that out.

You’ll notice from later reviews that we are no novices when it comes to desserts, but this time, we were too stuffed, although the menu listed some decent options. :(

The pricing is as per the regular BJN standards, and all the above came upto about Rs.650.

The ambience is pretty good, somewhere between the rgular noisy neighbourhood cafe, but with an effort to make it look more organised. We noticed a lot of large groups there. And yes, there’s even a one-man-band, who plays requests. Heard him play MLTR and Bollywood numbers, so metal guys can consider that a warning.

Overall, it was quite a pleasant experience, and definitely makes it to the ‘please visit again’ list.

Address: No.60, 5th Floor, Eva Mall, Brigade Road, Bangalore
Phone 41113388, 41118477, 41118466, 41118422

Photos at Zomato

Lovegames

It was easy to say ‘love all’, but he’d have to make a choice. The tall, slim, squeaking Serbian brunette, or the taller, slimmer, shrieking,Russian blonde. Both were too good to be co-recipients of his affection. Perhaps he should watch one more tennis match between them before he finally chose between Ana and Maria.

until next time, match makers

LOC

And we draw our lines. They might be invisible to those who come in, but we expect strict adherence from them, and sometimes we communicate it subtly or explicitly but sometimes not at all. And when they leave, we can’t complain. Perhaps they don’t like our lines, or perhaps they have their own lines.

until next time, draw your own conclusions

Social Responsibility

And the mother of ‘em all is finally here- My Space. I wonder if the promos happening on Channel V for its campus star is My Space’s idea of an Indian launch. I hope not, because i kinda liked Big Adda’s efforts, and hope to see a good brand campaign from My Space.Meanwhile, i read this article recently, which talked about social networking fatigue.

While it did make interesting reading, and gave what could be a popular perspective about the sites, i would tend to disagree on the fatigue factor.While I admit to being a more recent convert to all the sites, i’ve been on orkut and facebook long enough to have come across fatigue if it was lurking there. In fact, the case could be true of orkut where my involvement has perhaps seen a downturn after i joined facebook. But thats because Orkut doesnt have enough meat (IMHO) to keep me interested, and that’s precisely what differentiates Facebook. Its not just about messages and photo sharing, vampires/werewolves and forwards, its also about applications which cater to your interests in life – be it word games like scrabble, Tv shows like Heroes, or the philosophy of Ayn Rand, or a simply super group like ‘I love trashy Hindi movies’, the list just goes on.

I can’t see fatigue setting in when i’m playing scrabble with friends, while buying and selling in the fantasy stock exchange, and doing a likeness test with my friends and so on. In fact, the kind of fatigue i see is in the number of sites that keep cropping up. While (with the entry of My Space) we have three globally recognised networks, we also have the local clones like minglebox, yaari, Big Adda etc. And here’s were the fight will happen.Thats because there are users, and quite possibly the majority, who are into the social networking sites because its the in thing, and offers the (by now) plain vanilla benefit of connecting with friends. Once that connecting is done, their attention span becomes fleeting, and they’d hop, skip and jump to the newest site before you can say ‘Scrap’.

So every new site launched and every new campaign for them would create a ripple in that market.But then, there’s also the user who’ll try to derive value from a network which offers such avenues for him, and for him there’s no fatigue. If the site keeps adding stuff that will add to the user stickiness, then they would have to worry only if a better product comes into the market, not because of the wannabes that appear from time to time.

In essence, social networks, as every other commodity, will be solely responsible for how long they keep the user, depending on the value they create.So you see, the writing, as they say, is on the wall :)

and i bid adieu, wishing you all the best in your socialising efforts..

Sister Act

My sister’s college group finished their social project, and built the local tribals a treehouse to show their appreciation, with a strict warning nailed to it -‘maximum 4 people’. A few days later they heard the tree house had collapsed from overloading. We asked her who was dumber – the literate students or the illiterate tribals.

until next time, tree has a crowd

Legacies

Quite sometime back, i had written this, in which i had tried to fathom the confusion of a generation caught in transit. That genaration is definitely making progress, marching towards the paramaters of the next generation with ever increasing confidence, but in a sense, giving up on things that used to be sacrosanct until a few years back. Nothing wrong with that, to each his own. But there’s one thing that always makes me wonder.

There were things we grew up with – watching potboilers of amitabh in moviehalls with uncomfortable seats and later in VCRs, listening to the nasality of Kumar Sanu on Tseries tapes, enjoying the exploits of Kapil Dev or later Sachin Tendulkar in a crowded room full of cousins, reading Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle and Indrajal, travelling in Ambassador cars and Indian railways, lazing around during summer vacations and so on.
And while they still watch Big B movies in multiplexes, listen to Himesh on Tseries CDs while pretending to say Oh No’s, Tendulkar still rocks despite occasional calls for retirement, ACK and Tinkle will soon be available online, Indian Railways is still cool if we go by Jab We Met, and they find a few hours to laze around during summer vacations despite the karate classes, entrance tutions, salsa classes etc that enable them to survive and win in this oh-so competitive world, I wonder whether they’ll ever get nostalgic about any of the above the way we do.
Or have they found other things that i haven’t heard of that will link them with their childhood and youth, the ones that will give them bittersweet memories which they can jot down like this, the legacy of a way of life they can pass on to the generations that follow. Or will it all be forgotten in the tumble of the life we lead today, in which everyday brings in a faster way of doing things, a quicker way of travelling, a better way to store data, an easier way to communicate and so on… Will it all be lost when things become so transient that the past won’t really matter anymore…
until next time, remember….

A Class 1 story

He wondered why he’d been sent out of class. He’d done his homework, polished his shoes, he was paying attention to Miss Mary, and when Arjun, who sat next to him, started talking to him, he’d first ignored him, and then said loud enough for Miss Mary to hear, ‘Don’t disturb me in class, monkey’

until next time, every child is special

Love story

Unknown to each other, they were..

A smile and a word between them
And thus began a friendship rare
Best of friends, they became
A smile and a word between them
And lo, their love was for all to see,
Dearest of lovers, they were
A smile and a word
One love story became two
until next time, transience..
PS: D gave me a dirty look after this, so perhaps its best to have a disclaimer – Its not subjective :)