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Archive for August, 2011

Mrs. Delirium on marketing gimmicks of FMCGs

The new ‘in’ is the shampoo for hijabis. Without doubt, this is a skillful maneuver on behalf of the cosmetic company to capture the rapidly growing segment of the market favoring the hijab. This foretells important trends in our population:

An ever-increasing number of woman are taking to the hijaab as their preferred attire, comprising mostly urbanites studying or working outside,  more popular amongst the younger ones, transcending class barriers. These are seen as a target market to capitalize upon since urban areas now have frequent outlets catering to the faithful like specialized shops selling abbayas and hijabs to bookshops selling only Islamic books.

While this may be seen as a backward trend by the liberals denouncing the growing conservatism & ‘Arabinization’ of the predominant culture of the Sub-Continent, a lot of terming this is as the branding of Islam into a corporate entity.

But apart from being a brilliant marketing tactic, focusing on product differentiation, it has for the first time acknowledged hitherto neglected portion of the society. This is a similar strategy deployed in Indonesia a few years back. Catering to the local demands of the local market has been successfully used in this part of the world (remember Leher Pepsi & other brands in India in the 80s?)

While visualizing Islam in the Arabic context is practicing it almost too religiously, since this culture has now taken root, there is no harm on capitalizing upon it. Taken without prejudice, this can be a section like nail lacquer for housewives or soap for eczema & certainly no cause of ridicule from the liberals.

It is heartening to see that we have advertisements catering to the local demands as opposed to imported themes or models bearing no congruency with our population in language or attire. The inevitable result of projection by the media has resulted in our youth blindly emulating them considering it hip or cool.

This also heralds the fact that our local markets are mature enough for our multinationals to come up with special products tailored for them rather than coming up with a single product for the entire region.

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There is that young promising bright girl who makes it to the hot seat of the plagiarized illustration of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’– Junaid Jamshed’s faithful mullah compliant Islamic version_ Alif Laam Meem. She runs through the early rounds quickly until the poor girl is disastrously stuck by the revelation, no less challenging than the laurels of the restlessly wandering and now eternally and peacefully asleep Columbus, that she has been asked to discover the God forsakenly unknown place of Congo somewhere on the globe. Stunned, the girl wisely decides to opt for ‘Shoora’. As it turns out nearly three quarters of the house overwhelmed with excitement, momentarily passes the verdict, to somehow, relocate the state in question from Africa to Asia. The girl confidently and proudly announces to go with the ‘majority’ only to be shocked at how she has been let down by the ‘overwhelming majority’.

This was just a game that she unfortunately lost but are we losing something by blindly going with the ‘majority’ in Pakistan for years?

Let us now visit a class of physics or mathematics with a mix of average and above average students with a couple of exceptional ones like any representative group or class. The professor comes up with a tricky numeric and logical problem. ‘Majority’ is unable to see through it offering a unique but wrong answer while only a handful get to analyze it properly to give the proper solution.

Now who is specifically right here? The mediocre majority?

A strong counter argument to the later case may well lie in the statement that the real life analytical problems are not a quiz of mathematics or science but have diverse solutions with no one right answer to an issue or a problem.

True my dear friends but who has to unravel those ‘right answers’ in a democratic state? The representatives of the people? Elected by whom? Masses mired in guts of feudalism, ethnicity, sectarianism and bradarism? They may well be adjudged as ‘aware’ but what percentage can be assumed as truly educated and is prepared to see beyond the basic survival needs of bread and butter or thana kachahri? When the much trumpeted ‘freedom to choose’ gets so myopic, coerced, insensitive and selfish at the very core what representation do we expect to emerge over and over again and what improvement do we expect out of it?

Are we not living in a fool’s paradise if we expect any change to spring out of the rotten electoral system?

For these apparent underlying reasons, those who see the current version of democracy as a self-correcting and self- cleansing mechanism should rest assured that we are conveniently tied up only in an endless vicious cycle.

Let us just glance at the structures and ranks and file of our political parties. How many of them can claim to be democratic in their spirit ? Not PML (N) that proudly elected NS as its president after a fierce and sapping electoral battle and is now resorting to infighting for the aspiring members are lobbying NOT to be elected but handpicked by the party leadership. But then why do we clamour and tend to forget that the party draws its roots and strength from the ashes of a mard-e-momin?

PPP? It has more Ps than democratic dimensions. We hope and pray that our endearing jaan nasheen Bilawal Bhutto Zardari descends from the skies safely to take the reigns of the party leadership one fine morning as soon as he turns twenty five.

MQM ? Duh! PTI…maybe. I am not sure. The only political party that may boast of being truly democratic in its organizational structure turns out be JI that we insist does not represent the mainstream populace!

While all these political parties continue to thrive by virtue of their sheer undemocratic character weaved round the presence of a singular monumental individual, living or dead (half dead in some cases), can we conclude that our eastern loyalist (or perhaps sycophant behaviour and mindset; thanks to our existence as colonial slaves for centuries) invariably breeds an inherent and subliminal desire to bow our heads before an authoritative monarch?

So de we have something wrong with our democracy, national psyche, awareness or political parties?

Whatever, that may well be but I can’t believe that there is something NOT seriously wrong in this equation. Perhaps we can not single that out and perhaps its a complicated mix of more than one destabilizing factors. But the point and discussion remains that a blind and unquestionable trust and faith in the tenets of western democracy is not working for us. A tide of socialism has come and lapsed. Its violent and raging currents swept the likes of mighty super power USSR in its wake. Whereas, the recent spate of crisis has shaken the foundations of the power centres of the west grounded firmly into democratic traditions backed by vested interests and unruly corporate and capitalist mafias. Where does this crumbling ultimately lead to is anybody’s guess!?

Returning to the point, democracy may well be the ultimate solution to all our blistering issues; Maybe not! What needs to be done is to walk out of this shell and paradigm and approach the question with an un-predisposed and open mindset, taking all the variables and stakes into account and forge a solution that comes out as the best remedial fit for our unique and diverse social, cultural, religious, economic and demographic demands.

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As this restless girl Shivya, who manages her fabulous travel blog The Shooting Star, hopping from one continent to the other, nominates me for the 7 link project__ a wonderful initiative of  Tripbase , to be fair and honest, it comes as a bit of a shock. Not because my ever boasting self doesn’t consider myself much of a wanderer but principally because it brings home the realization that time really flies! 

7 link project is a sweet gentle reminder that I have been updating this personal blog for 7 months now and have piled up a mindless collection of more than 7 times that number. (Thanks to the readers for bearing with all those delirious outbursts). 

As I delve into the posts and statistics, I run into a number of surprises. First and foremost being, guess what!? the most visited page of the blog, barring home page, has been the “About” page. Lets still keep it as the ‘8th post’ as we search for the 7 (arguably) unique posts for the 7 link project. So lets plunge into the blog and dig out some pieces. Here we go! 

  1. My most popular post 

As the stats reveal, my most read and popular post turns out to be Imprinting footprints on virgin snow. Whether it is the charm of the virgin or the snow that caused all the pull and attraction is anybody’s guess!? 

  1. My most commented post 

The most commented happens to be the post about the pictorial journey that takes you through the captivating beauty of the mountain trek I love trailing through over and over again. The post is titled The Annual Pilgrimage  and it is downright sacrilegious not to comment on the post. 

  1. My least commented post 

Totally unexpected. My only piece of fiction on the blog weaved round a living character in the romantic backdrop of pulsating nature. Seems like, it all turned out to be a lame attempt that ended up in confusing the reader with contrasting metaphors. No comment so far, so to speak! Tangible Dreams 

  1. My nostalgic post 

About the idyllic and serene hill station I was brought up in. And that before it earned the overnight global fame hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons on May 2nd, 2011. Yes the one notoriously associated with OBL now, Abbottabad. The City That Once Was Mine!

    5.   My adorable post

One of the earliest posts on this blog; The one I dedicated to one of my closest friends. A walk down the memory lane, treasuring sweet memories, whereby, I shared a wonderful experience and enjoyed scribbling it. Exploring Mountains In January  

  1. My post on love and expense of universe 

Is love the binding force that is holding this disintegrating universe and its endless expense together? You decide! A Truth About My Universe……! 

     7.  My post on relationships & expectations 

As I understand, a simplified and isolated view and my two pence on the delicacies and intricacies of something as complex as human sensitivities and feelings. Emotional Bank Account  

Phew! Done with the selection bit. Now comes the hardest part. Handing over the torch for the next round of 7 link project.  As they say “Play the game in the spirit of the game.” Thus, the 7 people I am going to tag in line with the spirit of the 7 link project are Leenah with her blog Touching With Fingers The Naked Body Of Dreams. Valerine with her blog The Verbal Fiend. Mahlaqa managing her blog Mind And Beyond. Nadia Masood who operates her blog with her name. Umair with his blog Dashtnavard. Ugly Shoelace  managing her Ugly Worn-Out Shoelace and last but not the least Natasha Suleman operating her blog the spicy Green Chillies and then of course……we all miss Eva’s blog.

Done with my bit. Over to you guys now!

Cheers!

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  • First of all, I seek an apology in advance for resorting to stereotyping and generalization. But then my dear friend this is a reactionary mindset you are so proud to associate yourself with_ stemming out of your psychic need to ridicule anything remotely related to religion & Islam in particular or to mimic or appease the gods who rave in abusing and humiliating the religion.
  • Thus it is your apologetic mindset and twisted logic steeped in prejudice and inferiority complex without substantial knowledge that develops your personality as a pseudo liberal ( Aadha teetar aadha batair)
  • You are not clear in your mind and have a dual personality. Flaunting a spirit of false intellectualism, you complicate the things by living in a haze of contradictions and dichotomy.
  • Your reactionary approach is no less myopic and extremist than that of those sickening fundamentalists who are out to blast everyone & everything around including their innards for the love of seventy two virgins.
  • You hail from an intolerant and ignorant lot who just believe in exploiting the words and deeds originating from the opposing half of the divide or spectrum. You have no solution to offer and being a part of a problem, just add to the polarity and tension with no sense of moderation, fraternity or reconciliation.
  • You don’t practice religion but deem yourself a master at that. Thereby, quote the teachings and commandments out of context or quote them selectively/partially to convey or make convoluted misleading interpretations for your own benefit. That just adds fuel to fire worsening the already fuming & intolerant socio-political landscape. And who does it help? Not you; Not me; Not our country!

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