Wednesday, August 12, 2009

positioning statements

My daughter and I were watching videos of nursery rhymes on youtube when we came across these ads:

An invitation to learn to “Speak English fluently” on the ABC song. An example of a keyword match missing out on nuances, I thought sympathetically, till I saw the next one.

A chance to get an “MBA in London in 1 year” on ‘Five little monkeys jumping on the bed’. I hit replay in case I'd missed out a nuance that linked the lyrics to the ad, but still couldn't get it. The ad saw a connect though,because it appeared again.

A university that claimed to have “India’s top engineering college” appeared on a shot of a bridge collapsing during the rhyme ‘London Bridge is falling down’. Before I had finished laughing, a contest from HP invited me to express myself. Yes, that sounds worthwhile. I’ll have a quick breakdown while I wait for the judges to decide if I win.

Walk when you talk appeared on three blind mice. Sure, you don’t need to see where you’re going if you’re walking for exercise. The line about losing calories (spelt loosing) was perfectly timed, bang on the shot of the poor mice losing their tails, courtesy the farmer’s wife.

Airtel’s special 5 offer came up on Hush Little Baby – what a terrific follow up to millions spent on getting people to talk…

I had always thought you couldn’t beat English subtitles on Hindi movie songs for a good laugh (our love is sweet alcohol and such like), but it turns out their tickle scores have been beaten forever.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

writer's crap?

Some of the kind readers of this blog have asked me why I haven’t been posting anything.

The truth is that I want to. The greater truth is that too many things come in the way.

Here’s how it goes.

I start a new post, intending to write a few hundred words that are as profound as they are witty.

Profound is important. Or do I mean zen? Zen is infinitely more enigmatic and cool. It’s also a term I use a lot, usually with a superior expression when people look pointedly at my mismatched clothes or split ends. But then again, profound is more global. Well, there's a good way to find out what I do mean. After a good bit of wandering down scenic hyperlinks, I know that both are hard, and eminently dispensable.

I settle for witty and start writing.

Two lines down, I find my post littered with a flock of squiggly red lines. With a snort, i change the language to UK English. The flock grows. Not willing to get intimidated by a mere programme, I snort again, copy paste my two lines into a word document and disable spellcheck.

All that's left now is to shoot out those few hundred words, in an elegant and unperturbed way. I know it can be done, i have a friend who's getting two books published this year. When's the launch of the second book i wonder, and email her.

By the time i switch tabs again, I see that my writing has shrunk from two lines to one. Blogger's puny text box had made my writing seem twice as eloquent.

I think of all those talented people who write a few thousand words before breakfast or between jail terms, and realise, in a blinding series of epiphanies, that I hate each one of them. I also hate the paper clip that unfurls and widens its eyes mockingly like a demented yogi. I zap it into a kitten, and then into a puppy. After right clicking both options to check out animation, i know that the puppy works. My writing still doesn't. Or does it? I open a new tab and log into site meter to see how many people have visited my blog. A mere handful (I refer here to the hand of an embryo before it sprouts fingers). Last week might have been better, I console myself, and click to find out. The graph of the the month's visitors looks like a line up of midgets.

I would be discouraged at this point if I didn't know that it's silly for a writer to hold on to convictions that have lost relevance. This is the time to do something about it, I sternly tell myself, and drop witty from my list of to-dos for this post.

Now free of all pressure, I remind myself of the basics of writing. Focus on the material you have, and translate it into words without worrying about anything else.

I know I can do that.

I start a game of scrabble.