Clever Advertising ?

"Caution: Wash your hands properly after applying oil on head, to avoid excessive hair growth on your hands". Saw this warning in a print advertisement for an Ayurvedic hair-oil.

Either it is some clever advertising or this one is the real deal! I have never seen such a statement in any other hair-oil advertisements, though it makes super sense to be present in every one of them if they really do what they claim. Or is it that the other ones are precisely engineered to affect only the hair on your head? Quite unlikely.

I know this one statement is no guarantee of the authenticity of the product. But taking it on face value, what if I accidentally apply some oil on my forehead or neck? Now that is scary (hairy?).

Stories from friends !

Some of us friends from college had a get-together the other day. After the initial pleasantries, as expected, everyone started talking about those 'good old days'. How two guys were kicked out for preparing tea in the Chemistry laboratory using a burner and the measuring jar, during one of the Practical sessions. How someone was caught writing sexually explicit poetry in the examination hall,and his explanation for the same - free paper and better utilization of time. How twelve guys from one class participated in the Fashion Contest, wearing the same dress (read 'cloak') made of worn out curtain cloth. How some of the relationships of those days got pushed deep down to the basement of life as we all moved on. Everything looked funny and beautiful as we craned our necks and looked back.

It is ironic that we all wanted to get out of this 'fun place' as early as possible, to grab the opportunities outside. Those days, nirvana was all about getting a job and enjoying life thereafter. We were more like dogs chasing cars.. wanted to chase and conquer life, but hardly had a clue on what to do with life once we get hold of it. Now with secure jobs and considerable 'disposable income' in hand, we felt we were better off in college, chasing dreams. As the booze settled in, discussions moved on to more hilarious topics leaving the dissatisfaction and frustrations alone. Nothing helps getting over own disgusted feelings than finding the same in others around you. No two of us share the same workplace and hence everyone brought a different set of stories to the table. Here are a few.

How do you survive in the courtroom as a relatively new Advocate? A dear friend vouches that non-verbal communication can make or break your case in the courtroom. The following are two of his favorite tricks.

- When the case is going against you, gently tap the left side of your chest, right over the pocket, and plead "Have properly instructed sir!". The actual message conveyed here is 'I have been paid in advance for this case which will forcibly be taken away if the ruling is against my party. So please have mercy'.

- If the first trick doesn't work and the judge denies your motion, try this. Move your right hand from over the pocket and draw concentric circles on your stomach with your stretched palm, saying "But, there is provision my lord". The message conveyed through this seemingly innocent action is something like "It is a matter of daily bread my lord; I am totally dependent on this case's fee for survival."

Now here is a story told by another friend, about the youth wing leader of a political party, who might one day sit on a legislator's chair and rule over you and me.

One day our hero sets out to collect some money for party fund with his entourage. The donor is an elderly Muslim gentleman, who is a local administrator of the 'Non Resident Indians Association'. After accepting the handsome amount, the leader breaks into a well rehearsed monologue, highlighting his commitment towards social service. He then contrasts it with the current generation's disinterest in History and culture. Things were looking good and the Muslim gentleman was quite absorbed by the speech. Then like an unexpected fart, the leader switched topics and remarked, "Looks like that dark patch on your forehead has grown bigger than the last time we met". Before the stunned entourage could stop him, he continued, "I know a skin specialist near my house, if you want I can talk to him".

Before the gentleman could react, the followers somehow managed to drag their leader out of his arm's reach. So much for his interest in history & culture!

Hospitals aren't fun!

Going to the hospital is one of the most intimidating situations for me, unless its the dentist we are talking about. Don't know whether its the idea, the ambiance, the smell or the situation that's the real culprit, but its quite an ordeal. So you can imagine the effect as I walked into the waiting room of the Regional Oncology Research Center, joining a sea of people who are hanging on to the last straw of hope, considering the nature of the beast. But the situation was much different from what I expected. Though there were people trying hard to conceal the visible effects of the condition or its treatment, the mood was generally upbeat. I don't remember seeing a larger group of compassionate, sensitive and smiling people anywhere else.

As if taking the messages conveyed by the inspirational posters to their heart, I found people were generally in an optimistic frame of mind. Unlike other hospital scenes I have been part of, I did not hear anyone yelling, shouting or even raising the voices here. Everyone behaved like a bunch of well trained nursery kids. There were 9 year olds to 90 year olds, all in the same boat. Everyone talked to each other. There was no introductions required as if some kind of camaraderie evolved out of the shared situation. It was interesting that nobody even asks why you are there.. everyone seems to know. If you are an observer, then you might not be able to relate to any of the strange behavior that's happening around. You just look at the display screens, wonder why they call out the age of patients with their name and so on. But when you are one amongst the many who await the turn, everything makes super sense. You can almost see the whole process working relentlessly and without fault like a well oiled piece of machinery.

There is only one place that is more intimidating than the waiting room - the doctor's cabin. Anyone who sits inside for a few minutes with his eyes and ears open, will come out with a heavy heart and modified world views. I think that's enlightenment of the best kind...the one that's born out of conviction mixed with an overdose of reality. As I sat there watching the doctors in action, I realized the real meaning of 'transiency', 'mortality' and 'fear'. I saw a person whose mouth opens into his nasal cavity as the pallet was missing... rather removed. I sat there picturing his nasal septum fluttering left and right with every breath he takes. At the end of the consultation I could hear this inevitable question being asked to every patient about their preference - RT or surgery, as if you are given a choice between Gold & Platinum!

I take a walk when I get disturbed, and I did the same here. To my amusement I saw some billboards promoting an exclusive showroom for condoms, 'Planet Moods'. I think this is the height of choice. I am not sure whether people go to an exclusive showroom to buy condoms. Imagine someone walking into the condom shop looking for a khadi condom to celebrate Gandhi's birthday, a tricolor condom to celebrate the Independence day or a ventilated condom to beat the heat. I wonder!

Hairy Troubles !

OK, I got a Grey hair or two on my head. My hair is also falling at the rate of a dozen a day. I might get bald pretty soon as well. All these are facts and I know them too. But that doesn't mean that you can just walk up to me and tell this on my face, four times a day like a course of antibiotics. I haven't got a cactus where my heart should be (idea courtesy: The Magnetic Fields) to pretend that I did not hear it all the four times. This is exactly what the guys from the homeopathic clinic,Dr. Batras, been doing for the last couple of weeks. They have been sending four SMSes a day to my mobile phone, as if I am using their phone on rent.

They aren't the only guys who use my phone to expand their business empires. But the insurance companies never tell me that I will die one day and then my family will be begging on the streets if I don't take a policy now. Though Insurance is only as useful as a custom made Maple wood coffin for me, I don't get offended by their advertisements. Ya, once or twice I would have asked some telecalling executive to marry me in return for the policy, but then who wouldn't if they call during the afternoon power-naps. But the Batra's guys are outright irritating with their messages like "Don't ignore hair loss, treat it before it gets too late!".

Baldness is probably one of those incurable conditions like craving for ice-cream and tendency to look at beautiful creatures with long hair and interesting curves (not Yaks). Perhaps there is nothing to cure - baldness is just a natural progression from confusion to clarity, from darkness to light! I thought of looking up the picture of Mr. Batra, expecting to see a bald patch the size of undivided Russia on his head, thereby confirming the cure claim to be some kind of joke. This was not a random act of vengeance, as I know a friend of mine who used to work for Dr. Batra's, who still proudly carries around his reflector head. Though I did not find the Russia I was looking for, I can still argue that Dr. Batra got pretty thin hair for someone who sells the miracle cure.

I feel much better now!
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