Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2009

Saddam is Alive and Running along a Beach... for Elections in India

From today's Hindustan Times dated 31 March, 2009. The caption for this PTI photo reads: A poster of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein pasted on a campaign vehicle of Saddam Hussain* - CPI(M) candidate from Malapuram in north Kerala, a Muslim-dominated seat. Interestingly, Malappuram district also has a Saddam beach which got its name during the Gulf War. The story of the Saddam beach according to The Hindu (31/12/2008) : When the beach got its name (Saddam) during the first Gulf War, there were hardly three-dozen families there. The name of the beach has got into official records. “It was a clash between two Sunni factions on the beach that earned the beach its name,” said V. Abdul Khader, another resident. “Initially, it had a negative tone. It later transformed into a positive image of resistance against U.S. aggression.”  -0-  Update: The name of the candidate is actually T.K. Hamsa. He was "mistakenly" captioned as Saddam Hussain by the leading Newspapers

Aayega Aanewala from Mahal. Rare, Redux.

"The record of the song was originally released with the name of the narrative character, Kamini, credited as the singer, but it became so popular that "thousands of requests for the song used to pour in at the radio station along with a request to mention the name of the singer while playing the record. The officials approached HMV to find out who the singer of this runaway hit was. As a result of this, Lata's name began to be announced over the radio. It was only with the film Barsaat that names of the playback artistes began appearing on the records and on screen" - In Search of Lata Mangeshkar, Harish Bhimani (Harper Collins, 1995), page 154 video link A rare version of song Aayega Aanewala , composed by music director Khemchand Prakash , for Kamal Amrohi’s strange thriller film "Mahal" (1949). You might notice the music on this particular version of the popular song sounds more clear, you can hear lot more of the instruments, and the real

Funky Political Headgears, Mad Hatters down the years and elections

  Although the name 'Mad Hatter' was undoubtedly inspired by the phrase "as mad as a hatter," there is some uncertainty as to the origins of this phrase. As mercury was used in the process of curing felt used in some hats, it was impossible for hatters to avoid inhaling the mercury fumes given off during the hat making process. Hatters and mill workers often suffered mercury poisoning as residual mercury vapor caused neurological damage including confused speech and distorted vision. It was not unusual then for hatters to appear disturbed or mentally confused, many died early as a result of mercury poisoning. Principal symptoms of mercury poisoning are excessive timidity, diffidence, increasing shyness, loss of self-confidence, anxiety, and a desire to remain unobserved and unobtrusive. However, the Mad Hatter does not exhibit the symptoms of mercury poisoning. [Wiki article on The Mad Hatter ]  About the photographs and their source(clockwise): Jawaharlal Nehr

Happy New Year. Vishnu in Space.

March 27, 2009 Today is the first day of the new year according to the Kashmiri lunar calender. Kashmiri Pandits celebrate this day as Navreh.   'Vishnu in Space' Image: Cover of almanac of Kashmiri Pandit community. As part of the tradition, on the morning of this day. the very first thing that one gets to see is the new year's nachipatir or   almanac. So every year, in the wee hours of this particular day, a decided by the movement of moon, I get to see Vishnu in Space. -0- A page from history: "The 2nd of the month Caitra is a festival to the people of kashmir, called Agdus(?)*, and celebrated on account of a victory gained by their king, Muttai**, over the Turks." - India by Al-Biruni, page 258 Abridged Edition of Dr. Edward C. Sachau's English Translation Edited with Introduction and Notes by Qeyamuddin Ahmad, Second Edition Third Reprint 1995 Abu Raihan Muhammad ibn Ahmad, a Muslim of Iranian origin, popularly now known as Al-Berun

they kid you not

Papa Mummy Rinku Pinky Free Pay for One Child Get Second Child Absolutely Free  and if that doesn't reel you in, they also offer: "Wife 50% Off"

Sharmila and Pataudi in Gold Cafe Ad

Introducing a golden era in coffee... Savour the exclusive taste of premium 100% pure instant coffee. Rich with the real flavour and satisfying aroma of the choicest coffee beans. Try it and you will agree, it's the ultimate in coffee luxury! Gold Cafe Premium 100% Pure coffee Instant Coffee The ultimate in coffee luxury (Agency: Clarion) Sharmila Tagore and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi in Gold Cafe Coffee Ad from 1980s. Together they helped create this coffee brand that successfully tried to compete against Nescafe.

Imran Khan-Gavaskar Thums Up Ad

UNBEATEN PARTNERSHIP The refreshing cola  - The famous Thums Up advertisement  from early 1980s featuring the legendary Pakistani fast bowler Imran Khan and legendary Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar. This is from an era when Imran Khan didn't have to plead the case of good Talib s , he was just busy chasing movie starlets and selling cold drinks. -0- previous posts on vintage cold drink ads here and here Gavaskar in Cherry blosson ad here

Operation Topaz

In around 1983, General Zia ul-Haq was thinking about "a thousand cuts", "Blood"  and "India". In around 1989, Operation Topaz to destabilize India was set in motion even as Zia had everyone trust  the merits of cricket diplomacy. Zia could well have been thinking of a shaving blade when he thought up that name - Operation Topaz. Image courtesy: . 75 year old C.K Devassy has been collecting blades for last 55 years and his awsome collection  includes more than 60 blade brands from around 10 countries incuding India, USA, England and even China. -0- Topaz presents T.M. Bihari's Professor Pyarelal Image courtesy: Eatern Eye Zeenat Aman is looking for the 1 rupee coin that fell from her hand while Dharmendra was driving crazy to keep the bad guys at bay.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

  "I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream"         by  Waring's Pennsylvanians , released 1929 video link The song was used to some great effect in 1986 film by Jim Jarmusch "Down by Law"starring Tom Waits, John Lurie and Roberto Benigni. Here's the hilarious scene that Roberto Benigni rolls out: video link -0- The Emperor of Ice-Cream (1923) by Wallace Stevens Call the roller of big cigars, The muscular one, and bid him whip In kitchen cups concupiscent curds. Let the wenches dawdle in such dress As they are used to wear, and let the boys Bring flowers in last month's newspapers. Let be be finale of seem. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream. Take from the dresser of deal, Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet On which she embroidered fantails once And spread it so as to cover her face. If her horny feet protrude, they come To show how cold she is, and dumb. Let the lamp affix its beam. The only empe

Maruti Omni 'Car' and not a Van

The Maruti Omni An in-depth study of the most spacious car on the road. It's surprising that most cars don't have the fifth door. Sure, you might call it the boot-latch or the dicky, but in this car it's definietly a point of entry - especially for a whole gang of excited kids, or the Mrs.' shopping bonanza! in other words, it opens wide into wide inner space. And when you combine so much space with the superb Maruti features of styling, performance, fuel-efficiency and driving pleasure, you'll admit it's a total car. no wonder it's called the omni. With such an impressive introduction, let's step in for an in-depth study. [...] Maruti Omni. Travel in Space. (Agency: HTA ) A Maruti Omni ad from 1980s. When Maruti Van was launched in 1984 (with a Maruti 800 3 cylinder 4 stroke 800cc engine that had been launced a year earlier), it was meant to be a micro-van competing against Bajaj vans and Standard vans . A year later, Maruti Van, under the nam

Nehru, family time

Family Photo: Kamala Nehru , Jawahar Lal Nehru and their daughter Indira. -  Letters From a Father to His Daughter: Being the Brief Account of the Early Days of the World Written for Children. I picked this book from Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum during my first trip to Delhi in the summer of 1999.

F.Scott Fitzgerald's advice to daughter Scottie

Worry about courage. Worry about cleanliness. Worry about efficiency. Worry about horsemanship. Don't worry about popular opinion. Don't worry about doll. Don't worry about the past. Don't worry about the future. Don't worry about growing up. Don't worry about anyone getting ahead of you. Don't worry about triumph. Don't worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault. Don't worry about mosquitoes. Don't worry about flies. Don't worry about insects in general. Don't worry about parents. Don't worry about boys. Don't worry about disappointments. Don't worry about pleasures. Don't worry about satisfactions. Think about: What am I really aiming at? - F.Scott Fitzgerald , Letters to His Daughter , ed. Andrew Turnbull (New York: Scribner, 1965). These lines of advice are listed in a letter dated August 8, 1933. In the introduction to this book, Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald con

Sea Monkeys that were not Monkeys at all

Image courtesy: (a site having great collection of similar items from the 80s) How many folks in India remember this mesmerizing for amazing pet creatures? This ad could be found in comic books like Superman, Archie and almost every other comic. The amazing Sea Monkeys were actually shrimps . And I used to fight with my elder cousin telling him these were real beings, why else would the comic have the amazing family portrait of these cute little sea monkeys. -0- Here's a  blog dedicated to sea monkeys called ' Sea Monkey Geek '

Tarzan in Pink Loin Cloth

According to the story line: A crazy forest princess is holding some lady friends of Tarzan as prisoners and she is forcing Tarzan to do house chores wearing a loin cloth made from the skin of a pink panther. Or maybe the coloring artist was using the pink color to symbolize subjugation of Tarzan. Why else would Tarzan wear a pink underwear! Image: Curiously colored version of Tarzan from Times of India.Sunday,  March 22, 2009. Edgar Rice Burroughs must be disappointed.

Remembrance Gemini Ganesan

Gemini Ganesan (17.11.120 - 22.03.2005) Times of India dated March 22, 2009

Great Power Shoes

Bata Shoe Company Limited was incorporated in India on December 23, 1931. On April 6, 1956, it became a private company and changed name to "Bata Shoe Company Private Limited". Then on becoming a public company it became "Bata Shoe Company Limited" on April 18, 1973, but then only days later on April 23, it was renamed "Bata India Limited", the name by which we know it today. Three ads from the 80s for the famous athletic shoe brand 'Power' from Bata. These shoes were first launched in the year 1972. Birth of the fitness cult Power Jogger   However strenuous workouts your feet never had it so good. Body by Workout Power The future of tennis rests on this pair Power Ultimo (Agency: Clarion) If shoes be the criteria (and it's a good criteria) to denote periods in personal or non- personal history, then this history can be traversed easily by dividing it into two eras: BATA era

Stop for Cheaking

press Durgam Khabar Stop for Cheaking Noidea Police

Historic Caricatures by R.K. Laxman

Caricatures of (clockwise) Mahatma Gandhi, Jinnah, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan (this one really stands out), Sheikh Abdullah and Pandit Nehru. Found these in wonderful book called Faces, Through the Eyes of R.K. Laxman (Bennett Coleman & Co, 2000) ("Presented by BPL Mobile.")   The 155 page book has a collection of great R.K.Laxman's caricatures of not only those leaders and personalities who shaped recent Indian history but also of some famous international personalities ranging from Charlie Chaplin to Mao and to Bernard Russells.

Palace of Electricity

"The Palace of Electricity glows nightly with dazzling lights and there written, as it were, in letter of fire, will be found the history of electricity from its most primitive manifestations to its latest application: the telephone, bearer of winged words and herald of the television which will transmit over long distances the living image of the person speaking...the fairy goddess of electricity has become a mighty sovereign, endowed thanks to the genius of man, with infinite powers." - lines in praise of electricity from the official guide to the World fair of 1900 held in Paris. Among many other wonders, talking films and escalators were also first publicized at this fair. After visiting this Exposition Universelle , Oscar Wilde wrote this line to his friend Robert Ross in a letter dated June 1900: "The only ugly thing at the Exposition is the public."

Dostoyevsky on World Fair of 1862 in London

In London, Dostoyevsky visited the Crystal Palace which housed the World Fair of 1862. "The fair is truly magnificent," he wrote. "You feel the tremendous power which has attracted here this mass of people from all over the world into one herd...And no matter how free and independent you might have felt before, here you are seized with an unknown fear...There is something biblical about the scene, something Babylonian, as if the prophecy from the Apocalypse has come true. You become suddenly aware that it would take much spiritual resistance and denial over centuries to withstand the pressure and not to succumb completely to the awesome impression, not to bow to the fact and not to worship Mammon, in other words, not to accept the existing for the ideal..." - Re-reading Dostoyevsky, by Y. Karyakin, Novositi Press Agency Publishing House Moscow, 1971. pp 18. Crystal Palace was a pavilion of glass and steel built by the famous architect Sir Joseph Paxton to house

Old Ad: "Maggi, I'm hungry"

"Mummy, I'm hungry..." How often have you said this! Each time with  delightfully mouth-watering results. Because mummy  knows you love to eat Maggi Noodles, at any time of  the day. be it after school, or after play. Maggi 2 minute noodles come in four delicious flavours - Chicken, Masala, Capsika, and Sweet Sour. Try a different one each time. Maggi times are fun times...always! Maggi 2-minute noodles. Fast to cook! Good to eat! Maggi Noodles was first launched in India in Delhi in January 1983 by Food Specialties Ltd (associated with Nestle). It was an instant hit thanks to ever overworked mothers and ever hungry kids. Maggi became a phenomena. The following year, only people in the world eating more Maggi than Indians, were the Malaysians. Some tried to imitate Maggi's Masala for success and its instant formula, some like a brand called Favvy instant noodles, but none succeeded and now no one even remembers them. (But yes, a decade later, on board In

Bhartrihari's Satakas as an Advertising copy

Found this ad for a local Pan Masala brand in a socio-cultural-religious magazine of Kashmiri Pandit community. Shringar [Adornment] Flirtatiously moving eye brows and casting side glances, Are the adornment and weapons of a young woman - Bhartrihari’s Shringar Shatkam Vairag [Asceticism] We do not enjoy worldly pleasures, But we ourselves are devoured Desire is not reduced in intensity but we ourselves are reduced to senility - Bhartrihari’s Vairagyashatakam Bhartrihari(? d.651 A.D.) was a Sanskrit grammarian and poet who lived around 6th or 7th century.  According to one legend he was the King of Ujjain and the (elder) brother of legendary King Vikramaditya, according to this legend Bhartrihari renounced the world and became a poet. because of a woman (according to one version it was his wife and her tragic death because of him, and according to another, it was a girl who rejected his love). Bhartrihari is famous for his sequence of three Satakas (centaines), each one

Sita Sings The Blues, Opening Credit Track, Hindu Cosmology and Sita in Space

 video link A lesson in Hindu Cosmology from the opening credit track of Nina Paley's wonderful film " Sita Sings the Blues " Song and artist: Sita in Space by Todd Michaelsen (most of the original music for the film is by him) The stuck gramophone song is Moanin’ Low in the voice of  1920's Jazz legend Annette Hanshaw . [original song at youtube ] Also, in that credit track, the people who know their Bollywood would surely recognize ' jaadoo signature tune for E.T . ' by Rajesh Roshan for Hindi film of year 2000 'Koi...Mil Gaya'. [check it out the tune at youtube ] 'Sita Sings The Blues' beautifully re-tells the story of Sita from the ancient Hindu epic(s) of Ramayan and, in a parallel narrative, tells a personal story from the life of this film's creator. Of couse the story from Ramayan is the same: Sita is kidnapped by demon king Ravan. Sita sings (in the lovable microphone voice of Annette Hanshaw) for her husband Ram. Ram f

Colourful history of Holi. O yea!

Afternoon of Holi day is the best time to be driving down roads of Delhi and the roads of its many satellite towns. The roads look deserted, there are fewer cars, there's almost no traffic, these roads are almost unrecognizable. Occasionally you see groups of people, migrant workers, painted pink, little drunk, walking or cycling back home. In Kashmir, the Holi celebrations of security men used to quite a spectacle for both the local Muslims and the Hindus. By the time the celebrations used to end, which usually meant afternoon, these men could be seen lying inebriated on the road sides and in the ditches. Holi has been celebrated like this for quite sometime now. During the Huli, when all business is laid aside, and the Hindus of Northern India are sometimes inebriated for weeks, and give themselves up to all kinds of revelry in their Zenanas, Ranjit Singh had as little scruple as any other Sirdar of the Panjab, to appear openly mast or drunk, and exhibited himself in the s

Jai Bolo

video link Recorded live at Kheer Bhawani, Kashmir in June 2008. Voice of a Security man of CRPF leading the ritual of final " Jai Bolo " chant after the bhajan and prayers at the spring shrine.

Black Goddess

And then the discussion quickly veered to the subject of black goddess on the wall. "Isn't it inauspicious that the goddess depicted here - fair Vaishno Devi - is colored black." Black, Gold Glitter and Red Glitter


What the hell was Y2K bug? A recall: Since the early days of computing systems, computer programs stored year data only using two digits, for example, 1990 was stored as 90. Why was it a problem? Well, consequently, these computer programs could not distinguish between the year 2000 and the year 1900 because in the system both of them would have been represented as 00. And according to still some other programming conventions, year 2000 could be represented as 19100. Why such an oversight? Well, probably, during those not so heedy early days of computers, no programmer believed that human race would be using the same computer systems when we reach the start of the new millennium(did that mean the start of year2000 or the end of 2000?). Surely flying cars couldn't be managed using such primitive computer systems and logic. And some other people hopefully believed that the world would end well before the start of year 2000, so why worry about a silly thing like date convention. But

Old Advertisments for Money Matters

The bear and the Bull the game all big currencies play Corporation Bank The soundest foreign exchange advice you can get - An old ad for Corporation Bank. The look of that computer tells that the ad is from 1980s. Bye Bye Wallet Welcome MahaBank-VISA Worldwide Travellers Cheques Bank of Maharastra - 1980s ad for Travellers Cheque service of VISA provided by Bank of Maharastra. You can attempt stock market gains in two ways One: Put in your money. and watch for ups downs ups downs Two: Go for Magnum Smooth sailing, with 12%+ every year. Assured. 'a taste of stock market gains, minus the risks' (Agency: Lintas) -Year 1989 ad from SBI Mutual fund, Magnum Regular Income Scheme Are you letting your money be lazy in a saving or current account? Make it earn higher interest rate with Citibank's UnFixed Deposit. You get a chequebook too - for easy withdrawals! CitiBank Consumer Services Group Come, we'll give you a ba

Cigarettes and Songs

video link A little video created using vintage cigarette ads posted previously and some Hindi film songs about Smoking. Song sample used: 1. Famous Dev Anand song, "Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya" (Hum Dono, 1961)     Singer: Mohd. Rafi     Music Director: Jaidev     Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi 2. "Zindagi Cigarette Ka Dhuan" (Faasla, 1974) .      A film by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas      Singer: Bhupinder Singh      Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi      Music again by Jaidev 3.  "Sutta Lagao Yaaron Piyo Ek Dooje Ka Jootha"  (Goonj, 1989)      A film by Jalal Agha starring Kumar Gaurav      Music: Biddu    4. "itna lamba kash lo yaaron"  (Hu Tu Tu, 1999)     A film by Gulzar     Lyrics: Gulzar     Music: Vishal Baradwaj 5.  "BC Sutta" by zeest, a band from Pakistan.  6.  "Kash Laga" (No Smoking, 2007)       A film by Anurag Kashyap       Singers: Daler Mehendi,Sukhwinder Singh,Vishal Baradwaj      Lyrics: Gulz

Indian Cigarette Vintage Ads

He put a cigarette in his mouth and, as a matter of silent routine, offered one to Gwyn, who said ‘No thanks.”Richard looked at him.”I packed it in.”"You what?”"I stopped. Three days ago. Cold. That’s it. You just make the life choice.” Richard looked up and inhaled needfully. He gazed at his cigarette. He didn’t really want to smoke it. He wanted to eat it. Almost the only thing that he still liked about Gwyn was that he still smoked…Paradoxically, he no longer wanted to give up smoking: what he wanted to do was take up smoking. Not so much to fill the little gaps between cigarettes with cigarettes (there wouldn’t be time, anyway) or to smoke two cigarettes at once. It was more that he felt the desire to smoke a cigarette even when he was smoking a cigarette. The need was and wasn’t being met… While it would always be true and fair to say that Richard felt like a cigarette, it would now be doubly true and fair to say it. He felt like a cigarette. And he felt like a cig