Advertisement…..Spreading Awareness or Manipulating Opinion???

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Advertisements have proliferated our lives in a big way. Be it the daily Newspapers, the TV or the roadsides, all are flooded with advertisement campaigns, each company trying to do outdo the others. Huge budget is being spent by the business houses on advertisements with the sole aim of changing opinions. 

Life was so cool when there was no TV, no advertisement blitz to endure and the Newspapers actually carried NEWS with specific areas earmarked for the advertisements. Today, more than half of the Newspaper is occupied by advertisements or classifieds as some prefer to call them. In fact, the first thing which stares in your face as you open the morning Daily is a full-page advertisement of some brand. One got to literally search for NEWS in the maze of advertisements. 

We now live, not in a real but virtual world. Advertisement bring in hope and more often than not are the cause of despair when the aspirations are not met. With most of us too busy with our routine life and profession, having no time to go out, explore the markets and try things out physically our life is literally getting dependent on social media to such an extent that our habits, tastes, clothes, modes of entertainment, choices of schools, colleges get decided by advertisements. 

Manufacturers, business houses are in a sort of rat race to catch the attention of the customer. One product is launched and within no time the same company launches another advertisement claiming to launch an improved version of the previous product. Advertisements are not just restricted to glorifying the products but also softly aim at degrading the competitor. Which product is better, this decision, the companies should leave it to the wisdom of the consumer, they should only supply information. 

The main aim of the advertisements is to play with the psyche, to hit the mind of the target audience. They come out with catchy taglines like that of Raymond (The famous Indian dress material manufacturer) – The complete man (I have been a big fan of Raymond ever since) or Maggie Noodles- Mamma I am hungry (Every mom desperately wait to hear these magic words from their child). Mothers very well understand that Maggie Noodles cannot provide the nutrients required for the growth of the child but then they can’t let their child go hungry. Then the child is also armed by the information provided through the advertisement – every Maggie Noodle packet carries the nutrients equivalent to two pieces of home baked bread which is the normal diet of a child, and the argument ends in favour of the child. I, for one, never bothered about the nutrient content, I ate Maggie Noodles because I enjoyed the taste. Cosmetics have taken the advertisement war to an altogether different level with their claims of anti-ageing creams and turning the colour of skin from dark to fair in no time. 

Some advertisement campaigns do indulge in sexism and racism, manipulation and deceit, either inadvertently or intentionally. Women have to be part of most campaigns whether they use the product or not. 

Yes, advertisement do a whole lot of good to the society by not just spreading awareness of social causes and government schemes but also by making people, at large, aware of the options available and helping them compare before reaching a decision. However, one has to be careful and not believe everything being conveyed through advertisements on the face value. Various Regulating authorities set up by the government have to work proactively to ensure that the companies do not take the consumer for a ride by misleading advertisements. The onus should be on the companies including the advertisement agencies to ensure that there is no manipulation and stringent action be taken against defaulters. 

“Finally, it’s on the consumer to decide what he wants, to allow his opinion/ decision get manipulated by misleading advertisements or to be smart enough to read between the lines”

Do not take life for granted…..

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We always take things for granted. As a child we get used to things being provisioned by parents, at times even before we demand it. Most of us have grown in the protective environment with everything being taken care by parents. As we grow up we take our life partners our jobs for granted. We get used to a way of life, both personal and professional, and take it for granted that life will always go on same way. 

This is truer for the married ladies who become overtly dependent on their husbands for all their need specially, financial. In Indian subcontinent, most married ladies prefer to be home makers and hardly take interest in the financial management, even the husbands falter and fail to educate the ladies in this aspect. The ladies are not aware of the investments, loans repayment, bank nominations, insurances, property related documents. These are all managed by the husbands. Most of us fail to make and register a ‘WILL’. God forbid, if life takes an unfortunate turn and the husband suddenly passes away the entire family suffers for no fault of theirs. Pain of loss of a husband/ son/ parent can be further compounded if the financial/ insurance / property documents have not been managed well. 

The common mistakes which normally most people do are failure to open joint bank accounts or earmarking a nominee authorised to operate the account in the event of death of the main account holder. 

The wife/ parents are not aware of the loans taken. Most of us do the mistake of not insuring the home loans, as it increases the value of monthly instalments. If the loan is insured then in the unfortunate event of passing away of the payee the insurance company repays the entire balance amount and the family doesn’t suffer. 

The property is registered only in the name of one person and with his passing away the legal hassles of taking over the property starts for the wife/ family. It’s better to have a joint registration of the property to avoid any legal hassles or have a registered ‘WILL” nominating the person to whom the property will pass on. 

There is hardly anyone who prepares and registers a proper ‘WILL”. WILL is not talked about or discussed in the Indian families as it relates to death and division of property. Wisdom lies in preparing a detailed WILL and registering it. This will save the survivors from legal hassles and financial loss. 

Common things like Digital locker/ Internet banking passwords are lot known to the survivors and does take a prolonged exercise to hold of the new passwords and bank account operating rights. Prudence is in maintaining a physical record of all passwords and user names in a diary, not just on the laptop. 

All financial documents should be kept safely and the spouse/ parents should be aware of it. If possible, make two copies and keep at two different places just to cater for accidents. Record to be kept securely online also and in digital locker. 

Home makers should be educationally/ professionally qualified to take on the mantle of the ‘Bread winner’ when the need arises. Ability to drive a vehicle is a must. 

What I have discussed above is the worst which one can go through in life. People go wrong even in basics, just don’t plan or visualise the future before taking a plunge. You will see numerous cases of newly wed couples trying to settle down in life as early as possible. They get themselves overburdened with loans in the quest to acquire luxuries of life and a sweet home. Banks happily disburse loans based on the present income of the couple. Caution is thrown to the winds while taking loans and people fail to visualise the scenario that will happen if for some reason the job is terminated. No job is guaranteed in private sector. This has happened in many families with jobs getting terminated at short notices, business failing and then they have no way of re-payment of big loans they had taken and lose out on whatever they had acquired. More importantly they end up losing peace of mind. Patience, planning, visualisation, bit of caution is must in life; nothing happens overnight. 

“Life takes unexpected turns, enjoy it as long as you can but be always prepared to face any unfortunate eventuality. Strengthen your shoulders when you have the time, you won’t have to look for outside support even in the worst contingency”

 

 

 

Thank you for helping me make a better choice…find my passion….

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Rejection, whatever may be the cause always causes hurt. Most of us face rejection sometime or the other. It may range from minor rejections like a friend ignoring a post on social network site, a friendship request being ignored to more serious ones like partner walking out of marriage, denied a promotion or being rejected in a job interview.

Our brains are not geared to accept rejection and it always leads to moments of low, a feeling of disgust, the duration varying from person to person.  Every rejection is followed by a period of self-blame, becoming extremely self-critical. More the number of rejection we go through more self-critical we get.

Rejection may be for a variety of reasons. In a personal/ professional relation, you may not be lacking anything, maybe the other person (friend/ boss/ owner) is suffering from a complex and looks for a reason to break/ withdraw. Lack of qualification may not be the treason always for rejection in interviews, it is just that you may not have the particular qualification or experience the company is looking for or they consider you over qualified for that particular job. Do not be in a hurry to write yourself off or feel disgusted.

Rejection, as a word, should be removed from the vocabulary, it conveys a negative sentiment which is not warranted at all. In this competitive world you may not get a job not because you don’t meet the laid down qualitative requirement (QR) but because there are hundreds who meet the QR and they had to take only one and it was just not your day. Similar things happen in personal relation where a girl/ boy may turn down a proposal because it doesn’t fit the parameters they have laid for their life partner. Maybe they feel too overawed and subdued and just back down.

Any obstacle/ rejection which comes in life guides you towards a better option. Do not be in a hurry to get tied up in a job or relationship. Take your time, you will find the match, personal/ professional. Once you find your match, you will, more often than not, be happy that you were not selected for the previous jobs. You will be thankful to them for helping you make a better choice, find your passion.

“Rejection should not lead to feeling of disgust, Stay positive, it may be an indication that you deserve something/ someone better”

Tradition…. honour…Killings….

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Every family, every society, every community, every business thrives on its culture and traditions. Traditions qualifies any society and served as a tool over ages to bind the people/ company together. People lived and gave their life for the honour of traditions. Like every rule of law, every tradition needs to change to keep pace with the growth in society. Any business or society which refused to adapt to change either died a natural death or stagnated at best. 

Cases of killing for family honour are not very uncommon in our society. Perceived violation of family tradition/ culture or bringing shame or bad name to the family by going against the societal norms have many a times resulted in violent cold-blooded murders. Entire families have been declared as an outcast for defying norms of the community.

Day before, I was really disturbed to read that a father killed his teen daughter because he found her talking on cell phone, to someone he perceived to be her boyfriend, at midnight. That was reason enough for him to lose his cool and strangulate her to death. I am sure he would have certainly cautioned her at least couple of times before the incident but is such an action justified under any law. Is falling in love a crime, specially, for women? Does an inter caste marriage or love affair warrants punishment by death and that too generally of the girl? Yes, there have been instances boys being killed too, but, by the parents of the girl because she refused to leave him. Somehow the onus of carrying the family traditions lies more on the ladies/ girls than on the man. A man may get away with gross violations. There have hardly been any cases of boys being killed by families for perceived violation of family tradition/ causing dis-respect to the community whereas instances of girls being sacrificed are numerous. 

Man, the bread winner of the family is allowed liberty to go against the tradition whereas a lady, traditionally the homemaker, child bearer and caretaker is bound by strict traditions. Even in the so called affluent society the women do not enjoy the freedom as the folk do. 

The only way the change can be brought in is by means of education. Parents, specially mothers, have to ensure that the girls are educated and empowered to stand on their feet. They have to ensure the right values are instilled in the boys. The boys have to be taught to respect the girls and treat them as equals. A girl may be physically weaker but she can’t be treated as second class citizen in her own home, as compared to the boys. Rule of the land has to be strictly enforced, by the civil administration, with exemplary punishments being given in cases of honour killings. Enough government schemes exist for educating the girl child, what is lacking is the implementation in true spirit. “Mental blocks have to be removed, the thought process has to change and this can only be brought about by education”. 

“Allow your girls to grow…let them live their dream….they will only make you proud….trust them”