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Sunday, March 31, 2013

"BRAVE NEW WORLD"

Being in the throes of a painful dental experience I remained sadly absent from the blogosphere. But my mental state refused to bow down in spite of the intense unease. I thought of introducing you to:

Aldous Huxley’s BRAVE NEW WORLD a sc. fic. which has held an intriguing sway over my mind ever since my university days. To drown the disgusting pain of wisdom tooth extraction, I got hold of my old paperback edition of the novel, glanced through the pages, reminisced and went on to scribble a few impressions to share them with you.
BRAVE NEW WORLD published (1932) is a bizarre as well as a sinister delineation of a political system, which in all likelihood can come true within our milieu, if certain disconcerting tendencies proliferating around us remain unheeded. Huxley intended it as a prophetic warning against the changing world view which he sensed gaining ground in the western world, which if not controlled on time, could lead to extinction of the type of human race in which we move today.
It is a negative utopia according to its author and represents the ultimate in scientific and technological progression. However, the inspiration for imagining such a nightmarish fictional discourse has its seeds in the contemporary issues of the 20th century
Huxley sets his novel in 2040 AD in London and depicts a hedonistic welfare state whose sole aim is maintaining social stability through complete elimination of the possibility of misery, pain, despondency and religiosity: the causes of social turbulences.
The hugely powerful narrative of the so called welfare state is peopled by impassive puppets programmed by the state administrative machinery. The absorbing but questionable world order which he portrays, blends elements of satire and caricature with a subtext of veiled but prickly joviality. The syntax and semantics are uniquely original and represent the tour de force of human intellect and vibrant imagination.
He envisages a society where emotions are a taboo, thinking is a disease, private life is extinct and promiscuity is a norm. In the new world, emotions stand controlled through behavioural conditioning. Thinking ability is non existent, successfully stunted by reducing vocabulary to a few hundred words and by abolishing nuances of meaning altogether, e.g. opposite of good is ungood. The life of these emotionless people is governed by a few ingeniously designed slogans, which are ingrained into their systems through conditioning and reinforced permanently through sleep teaching methods from birth itself. The slogans actually constitute the tenets of the world order of BRAVE NEW WORLD.
The polarities of our existence which provide meaning to our life have been dealt with by ensuring an eternally happy state. There are no desires because every desire is met before the longing for it surfaces. Life is totally predictable, static and struggle free. If by any freak chance some slight irritant is experienced, there is the harmless remedy of ‘soma’ which can transport one on a sleep holiday minus a hangover. Frequently the new worldians are heard saying “one cubic centimeter cures ten gloomy sentiments.”
In the new centralized totalitarian system the miracle of nature’s wonderful creation and its variety is replaced by cloned hierarchical classes of people representing Alphas, betas, Gammas etc., who are slaves to their instinctual conditioning. Through a technologically perfected method of Eugenics and emotional engineering, it is ensured that there are no round pegs in square holes. Children are not born but are made in test tubes in special hatcheries and brought up in infant nurseries, strictly according to the needs of the system. All classes of people are happy and don’t desire or aspire to be different from what they are. There is no competition, no jealousies and no chance of joblessness as only the specific numbers of people needed are created by the state. State sponsored propaganda is imbibed into the mental physiology of the infants through repeated chanting of rhythmically rhymed statements by a mechanism under their pillows.
The institution of marriage and family has been done away with. The words: parent, father and mother arouse embarrassing reactions. Preference for one man or one woman is regarded as a sexual abnormality and attributed to some slight error in the decanting process. And also it endangers the core of their stabilizing process which survives on the subsumed principle of instant gratification and uninhibited free sex. Sexuality has degenerated into mere entertainment imprinted via the slogan “everybody is for every one else.” Sex is regarded as an activity like any other activity and loses all privacy and romance.
Huxley was disturbed about the promiscuity which he witnessed in the West reaching alarming proportions, where divorce had become a norm rather than exception.
In BNW “My Ford” the father of assembly line mass production has taken the place of My God. To keep the wheels of economy moving the experts in the field are ever busy in creating artificial demands and desires for excessive consumption. For example the craze for buying for its own sake is fed and generated through innovative methods and subtext of subtle conditioning through shrewdly designed graphics.(Don’t you think it is happening around us already? “Buy one get one free” and other sales gimmicks around festivals make the people splurge on items which are not needed at all and pushed under beds and forgotten because there is no space in the almirah.)
In the new world there is surfeit of goods at all times and the question of mending or repairing any thing doesn’t arise. The slogan which the BNW coined to promote excessive spending is “Ending is better than mending.” And funnily worded “less stitches more riches.” The Mall culture which is spreading its tentacles around us is a symptom of mindless buying sprees growing by the day.

The narrative above stirs familiar vibrations in our midst. It is time to reflect perhaps.

By way of an alternative and contrast, Huxley incorporates a subplot whose protagonist ‘John the savage’ is a sort of mouthpiece of the author, but I’m not going to explore that and leave it to the curiosity of those who may read the book to seek it.

.......

Your thoughts are welcome!





Sunday, March 17, 2013

IS THERE "TIME TO STAND AND STARE?"



 A goodwill gesture from a friend of, sending some images of grandeur, propelled me to share them with my blog friends, some of whom are connoisseurs in the art of capturing the manifold avatars of our daily life, of  flora and fauna, of hills and landscape manifesting the miracles of the universe in all its magnificence. Here is a peacock in all its splendor of hues and gloriously blazing flight.


The grace and majesty.

The perfect bodily contours against the pure blue skyline.
The rare shot with all its glory

Freedom of expression
Your valued comments are a source of support,always.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

ARE WE GRATEFUL ENOUGH?


The other day I was reading a Harvard Medical School Newsletter (to which I subscribe) that underlined and promoted positive orientation and expression of gratitude as mediums to attract ripples of bliss to flow into you. And this inspired me to mull it over.
The follow-on existential exercise led to some observations realized lately. It is said you can’t chase happiness, however, you can facilitate the spontaneity of its surge towards you. Inevitably, the question arises, how? The answer to this intriguing query is simple. Just by being positive and grateful for what you are blessed with and by giving a little bit of your love and care to others who need it the most.

Let me begin with some home truths which remain derailed mentally and hence hardly ever thought of :

For example our relationship with our parents which we take for granted. Do we ever pause to reflect, how lucky we had been in having unconditional love and support of our parents, in the crucial years of our growing up? The umpteen number of occasions, when we escaped falling prey to unsound circumstances, because of their timely advice. The discipline which they inculcated in us, prepared us to face failure and success with fortitude and learn lessons. 
Because of their training in perseverance, we were able to weather many a storm in our lives unflinchingly. And the way they imbibed in us, recounting their life’s experiences, how faith in oneself and doing good are stepping stones to a purposeful and happy life. How time and again they ingrained in us the spirit of hope in adversity and assurance in misery that nothing is permanent.
The invaluable lesson to be tolerant in our reactions to life’s unpleasant occurrences, passed on to us through their good sense, instilled in us confidence and courage. Their resilience in the face of setbacks, got stamped as permanent images in our minds. Their bucking us up in our lows, strengthened our resolves to be dauntless and not to fall back into brooding and inaction.
How generous and undemanding our parents  had been and are!  Let us express our gratitude through acts of care and concern for their well being and earn happiness through their reservoir of blessings. Their twilight years will be filled with physical and emotional wellness. Smiles and laughter will replace pouts and ruffled looks.
Have we ever pondered over the role of our siblings in shaping our lives? How they used to make light of our capriciousness and indulged us in many ways. How there were sessions of mutual comforting, during stresses and strains of younger days. How playing and fighting enlivened our days together. Let us reignite that old camaraderie for healthier interaction amongst us.
In the hustle bustle of life, we’ve forgotten our colleagues and friends who stood by us in soothing professional complexities by giving their perspective to ease tensions. Let them be back to grace our consciousness.
 Apart from the above let us count our blessings and give thanks:

To God, for bestowing upon us the ability to love, to think, to reason and differentiate between good and evil.
To nature’s bounties of vast lands, seas and hills.  
To the cycle of seasons exhibited in untold variety. 
To flora and fauna for allowing us to spin in their luxurious lap.
To our spouses for blessed moments of togetherness, support and some precious leisure hours, to relive those beautiful memories nostalgically.
To all precious emotions promoting relatedness with the world in which we live. Thereby defeating self sabotage and isolation.
To our vulnerabilities to keep us grounded away from hubris.
To those who lend us a hand in everyday chores. 
To those who consider us capable enough to facilitate them in fulfilling their dreams.  
This and much more we will have to do to kindle a spark within us to break free from self woven cocoons and pour joyfulness around. 
.........

Friends it'll give me pleasure to know your thoughts on the subject.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"WHAT AN IDEA SIR JI!"

Innovation at Kumbh Mela

 Friends I'm eager to share this interesting idea with you:

Ogilvy Action tied up with 100 dhaba owners in the vicinity of Kumbh Mela and handed out more than 2.5 million chapattis stamped with Lifebuoy Message.


 
   
Rotis With a Message 

Did you wash your hands with Lifebuoy?' That was the message, in Hindi, stamped on over 2.5 million chapattis at the Maha Kumbh Mela , the largest congregation of human beings on the planet.

The unusual advertising medium certainly had pilgrims taking notice.

The campaign enabled Unilever, the company that makes the soap, to reach a large audience in a low-cost but effective manner.

Unilever has the advertising agency Ogilvy Action to thank for the brilliant advertising idea.

Vipul Salvi, the 34-year-old National Creative Director of Ogilvy Action, is the one of the people behind the campaign. He says the idea needed to be big and innovative. "The obvious options were to put up stalls and play games around health and hygiene, but that would have been too gimmicky," remarks Salvi.

Those ideas were rejected since the Maha Kumbh is a spiritual affair. The mandate, therefore, was to look at other ways of getting the consumer in touch with the brand.

The ad agency deliberated over the campaign for close to eight months and came up with over 200 ideas before zeroing in on the roti campaign.



                                                                                   Vipul Salvi
Rotis being stamped with the message

A heat stamp was specially made to make an impression on the chapattis.
The agency tied up with over 100 dhaba owners in the vicinity and handed out more than
2.5 million chapattis stamped with the Lifebuoy message.




The heat stamps used to make an impression on the chapattis
 
Lifebuoy achieved its aim of increasing awareness and getting people in touch with the brand.
And many of the millions at the Maha Kumbh Mela ate with cleaner hands.

 Thanks for reading it through. What do you think of this?