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Friday, November 30, 2007

Maggi Noodles: The Two-Minute Wonder

"Mummy bhook laagi (Mummy I'm hungry)," cries the kid. "Bus do minute (Just two minutes)," assures the loving mom. My mother never preferred Maggi, she would rather prepare some chow-chow (not to be confused with the Chinese breed of dog or the American condiment), that is what we referred to as in Shillong what the rest of India calls chow mein.

But beyond home, this five-lettered instant noodle brand has become a trustworthy companion, for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and occasionally in-between). Don't feel like cooking and end of the month budgetary constraints disallow eating out, it is always Maggi to the rescue. Every month I consume dozens of packets of this two-minutes wonder and so do millions of others like me.

There have been at different points of time, different competitors who attempted to replace Maggi from my breakfast/lunch/dinner bowl, but have, in the long run, failed to do so. Worthy competitors were Top Ramen and Wai Wai. They are good for the occasional change in taste but it is Maggi that remains staple. And I've devised some alternative recipes to add some variety to my platter.

Though Maggi advertising (see ad at the end of this post) tends to target kids, a survey would reveal that a considerable slice of Maggi noodles' consumers are single men and women. The pricing and the variety in tastes are the added advantages. Though I personally stick to the two traditional flavours - chicken and masala - and prefer to purchase my monthly quota in bulk. Only that my neighbourhood grocery store doesn't store anything more than a pack of eight.

Even the dhaba near my office prepares delicious Maggi, thereby providing me with more options for lunch - parathas or Maggi and nowadays it is more Maggi than parathas. Though technically, the entire procedure of preparing a steaming hot bowl of Maggi noodles takes some multiples of that promised two minutes. Not that I'm complaining. But people who come visiting me and stay for a week or more, swear themselves off Maggi - at least for some time.

The only thing that I miss about the Maggi from my growing-up days is that they no longer give gifts in exchange of empty Maggi packs, else I would have had quite a collection by now. And I have another request for the guys at Nestle, please sell the chicken Maggi tastemaker loose, ie without having to purchase the noodle with it. It does make for one relishing lick.

Maggi TVC:

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

'Blogs, Like Memories, Don't Die'

Occasionally, when I'm alone (a rarity in this e-era) a thought comes to me. But I was unable to elucidate it in sentences. Now, Atul in one of his sixteen blogs, coincidentally, expresses those feelings in a manner (as usual) that I wouldn't have managed to.

...blogs, like memories, don't die. Or something to that effect. And I believe so. People delete blogs, they stop writing at their blogs, yet blogs themselves don't die. They may be pushed back in the darkest deepest recesses of an inaccessible server somewhere, but they don’t die. At worst, they don't grow - they stagnate for want of nutrition.

Blogs don't die. Bloggers do. They die two kinds of death, one of which is certain.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Revenge of the Zapped Ads

It seems that some of the effort that I've put in this blog might just become redundant. There's a new website in town called that acts as an online storehouse for all those TVCs.

This is from their brochure: is a 24/7 online video directory for brands. Targeted at the global Indian, may be the answer to zapped out television commercials.

The '24/7' adjective before 'online video directory,' may seem superfluous. The web is 24/7 (unless you have subscribed to the ISP I have). But then they are attempting to place themselves as complementary to TV. And against the seconds of airtime on TV, the '24/7' tag might have some appeal.

The site is in all in flash that takes a while to load and refresh. The interface is also not very user friendly. I tried opening the site in IE7 (Firefox is my default) and it just doesn't seem to work there.

Though this site is all about videos, text is also necessary for a more wholesome user experience. And using logos to identify the ads also don't help as different ads from the same brand have the same logo and I can't know which is which unless I play the video.

Nevertheless, they have a sizeable number of ads categorised under 24 different heads. But they still have a long way to go. Good idea though - No interruptive soaps, only commercials.

And here is their own ad

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Outlook Editor Expelled for Making a Pass at a Girl

This is a kind of headline that is sure to grab a few eyeballs. Had I added a word scoop/exclusive before that, the effect might have been even more sensational (quite like our television news channels).

Excuse the tabloidish headline but that is not entirely untrue. Only that Vinod Mehta was not the editor of Outlook (and was in primary school) when whatever mentioned in the headline happened. A confession in his own words:

I was expelled from Loreto Convent for making a pass at a girl! She wanted to borrow my rubber (that's what we called it then), I asked her to be my girlfriend.

We too called erasers rubbers, because they were made of that stuff and at that age we weren't aware of the other rubbery stuff around. I too was once, actually twice, suspended from school. Could've been expelled too.

The first was when I was in the eighth standard and being the class monitor led a rebellion against a teacher who had made some baseless allegations against a classmate and our class teacher (details in some future post) and the second time on charges of aiding someone bring a fake guardian to meet the principal. That I was a house vice-captain made matters a little worse as I was supposed to be an example for other students.

Though not much damage was done on both occasions, it definitely gave me some tales to narrate to my grandchildren and write some posts on this blog.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Regenerate Disappeared Firefox Extensions / Add-ons

This morning as I logged onto my work PC, I found that all the extensions/add-ons that I had installed had disappeared. Even the add-ons manager was not responding, though it showed the installed extensions but the controls didn't work and the window just remained stuck there.

I first suspected the IT support guys to be behind this, they often come up with wierd ideas to restrict a hassle-free browsing environment. But then I doubted their abilities.

A little googling and the problem was solved. The reason was a recent update. And the fix is not that difficult.

First look for your Firefox profiles folder. As this folder could be hidden. To show hidden folders, open Windows Explorer and choose Organize -> Folder and Search Options -> Folder Options -> View (tab) -> Show hidden files and folders.

Delete three files from your profiles folder.


Make sure Firefox is not running when deleting these files. Firefox will regenerate these files on restart.

[All the gyan is from here]

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

That '80s Show

Children had trouble understanding what the hell Nirodh was…why all the rain and the singing and the pink umbrella. Grown up had trouble understanding it too, the population kept growing in spite of all the talk and wall painting by the Family welfare department…Jacha Bacha Bachoo ka Baap sab khush all happy under the one big palm. That again is another story.

Vinayak at At the Edge has put together quite a comprehensive collage of life in the 1980s (both in text and images). We oldies should read it for the n-effect and the bacchas to know of the world as it existed before internet and satellite television.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Celebrating Cacophony

There is art.
There is Noise.

But only we have perfected the art of noise.

Some of the kost original works of art can be found on cracker boxes. There is as much bang outside the box as there is within. From pictures of gods and celebrities to politicians and animals, they all find their pride of place on a cracker box. Whether it is Diwali, Dussehra, or winning a One-Day International, we celebrate all with the most beautiful sounds.

The Times of India
Celebration Times. Forever.

Best wishes for Diwali and Kali Puja.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mitra Speaks for His Friends

I didn't yet post a post on the recent Tehelka sting (Still am working on it and it'll be up soon). Though it wasn't an expose, it wasn't also a story to be disposed off. Everyone on both sides of the debate cannot refuse to agree with the facts (maybe a tad exaggerated). But there are many who try to see an hidden agenda in the whatever anyone else does. I was reading Chandan Mitra's piece in Outlook on the Tehelka sting and felt that the the editor of The Pioneer was just reflecting the opinions of those stung.

Mitra calls it a 'failed sting.' Failed because that the contents revealed as a result of that are no longer shocking and Narendra Modi was not directly implicated. But the findings, irrespective of the desired 'results,' needed to be released in the public arena.

He also questions the timing. My observation is that whatever time the sting might have been aired, detractors would always look for one or the other timing stick to beat their argument drum with. It is the easiest thing to do.

'Politically motivated' - it might have been (you never know) but if it is the truth (or even close to it), the movation is of secondary importance. And what motivates The Pioneer and the man behind the newspaper is no secret.

I don't feel like providing any more counter arguments to that piece as to an intelligent reader the truths would be quite obvious. But what surprises me is the quality of the column, something that I didn't expect from someone of Chandan Mitra's stature and calibre. Hope he didn't get it ghostwritten and forgot to edit the draft.

Ideologies and beliefs stand would exist and different people have different views, but how these views are expressed is very important. It is necessary to engross the reader and potentially raise doubts in the minds of an otherwise non-believing reader. The piece, unfortunately only expouses ideology, nothing more.

I'm not the only one who doesn't totally approve of Mitra's arguments. Mahesh Peri the publisher of Outlook writes,

The response that the sting has evoked from some among us is both shameful and dangerous. And when it comes from leaders - the so-called intellectuals and especially editors who are supposed to mould public opinion - it is despicable. I have read Chandan Mitra and I am constrained to say that I am happy not to have ever known or met him. I think I am freer than him because I can see, hear and process everything that is said on camera not through the prism of my own magazine, organisation or people.

And the fall of sting operations in India goes much before the Delhi schoolteacher episode. Shakti Kapoor. Remember?

On a different note, but still sticking to Outlook. A few lines from Delhi Diary by Bhaichand Patel:
I had stopped being a Marxist when I became financially comfortable.

Instead of telling a story straight, he (Vidhu Vinod Chopra) likes to show off the skills he learnt at film school.
Quite true.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bollywood's House of Horrors

A nice collection of hand-painted kitschy posters of Hindi horror flicks (I vaguely remember watching a few of these) can be found here. These are scary (read amusing). A few samples:

I can't read Urdu. Can someone help with this? Tasneem says that it reads, Loorud Bala, but couldn't delve further into the meaning except for the Bala part which translates to a beautiful woman and/or trouble.
Vinayak feels it might mean 'Bloody Evil Spirit' and points out that the film is possibly in Pashto.

The above is a perfect specimen of the bhoot in Indian cinema. The other is the kind draped in a white saree, but may transmogrify into the specimen above

Anmol Moti (Priceless Pearl)

Jangal Mein Mangal - The word mangal literally translates into auspicious. Therefore it should translate to 'Auspiciousness in the Jungle,' but it doesn't. The name has some other inference and the phrase has found its place into popular vocabulary.

Via Peex Blog

More Indian horror film posters (including Hindi dubbed versions of South Indian films) are listed here.

In case you're interested in some C-grade A-rated tiltilation, here is another sizeable collection of posters

Related post: Painted Dreams

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