The ‘B’ Word…
What differentiates a smart student from a dull one, an efficient housewife from an inefficient one and a successful model from an unsuccessful one? Skills? Of course not. All of us know that’s not true. Hard work? Not at all. Hard work is for donkeys, not smart people. Still wondering? Here’s the answer. A smart student uses a Cello Gripper pin point pen with comfort cushions and German ink flow technology to write his exam papers, the efficient housewife uses Prill washing gel with neemboo shakti and hand softening moisturizers to wash her utensils and make them 99.9% germ free and the successful model, as you must have guessed by now, uses Ayurvedic Fair and Lovely with triple sunscreen and vitamin A, B, C, D and E to make her skin fair and flawless. No matter how much the student studies it is the pen brand that decides the fate of his examination paper. After all, his handwriting depends on the pen, his writing speed depends on the pen and I think it is implied that his reasoning abilities also depend on the brand of the pen he uses (please make note of the fact that all Cello Gripper users score 100 marks in the advertisements). The efficient housewife or the aadarsh bahu, as we Indians call her, would never have been able to really clean the utensils had it not been for Prill washing gel. Likewise, it is Fair and Lovely cream that decides the future of a model’s career, not the way she walks and carries her self. Yes ladies and gentleman, it is the brand of the product that distinguishes one human being from another.
Come to think of it all of us have been brought up with brands. Today, every new born baby is expected to be a Jhonson’s baby. Gone are the days when mothers used to bathe their newborn in milk and honey and massage their bodies with mustard oil. The twenty first century hot mom uses Jhonson’s Baby body wash and shampoo lest her baby be looked down upon and jeered by the other hot moms . (For those of you who do not know Jhonson’s baby hair conditioner and hair styling gel is also available in the supermarket. If any one knows how to style an infant’s hair using these products please let me know.) New brands are popping up every day exclusively for babies. The existing brands that were initially meant for adults now have a kid’s section. It is only natural for a child brought up in such fashion to become obsessed with brands at a later stage.
I will not be surprised if our country’s caste system is replaced by the Brand System one day. After all, there is very little difference between the two. We will have high brands (Brahmins) and low brands (Shudras). People of one brand will not allowed to marry those of the other. Honour killings will take place because of inter brand marriages. High brand landlords will force the low brand workers into bonded labour. This description, no matter how exaggerated it may sound, does help me in making my point. Brands, just like our caste, define our social status.
I entered UB City (a mall owned by Vijay Mallya that does sell any Indian brand) a few days ago. When I went into the rest room to make myself presentable I saw a girl, clad in expensive clothes, looking like a mannequin that had escaped from a fashion store in Milan, rush in and take off her costly Jimmy Choo pumps (read mountain peaks). She yelled,“Oh God why am I doing this to myself?” Well sweetie, neither God nor any sensible person on this planet can answer that question for you. Till date I have not been able to understand how people can injure and mutilate their feet by wearing uncomfortable footwear, just because it is of an expensive brand, for the sole purpose of looking good.
“Oh hello Sugar! How are you? That dress looks simply lovely on you! Muuaah mmuuah mmuuaah”. I had the honour of witnessing girls exchange these meaningless pleasantries a couple of months back when I had gone to a pub in Bangalore. I had put on my Levis denims, sequined Benetton top and Adidas floaters assuming that I was “appropriately and expensively” dressed for that place only to find out that all the cool girls in that pub were supposed to wear Prada, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. As I sat in a corner sipping a cocktail (well, a low brand girl could obviously not mingle with a high brand crowd) I noticed how these social butterflies moved about. They went from person to person, talked for a while exchanged air kisses and then moved on. There was something peculiar about their conversation. It was not the girls who were doing the talking, it was the brand that they were wearing. Alisha was not talking to Aisha, the Jimmy Choo pumps were talking to the Tommy Hilfiger dress. There existed an inexplicable camaraderie between these two girls, one that can only exist between people who wear similar kinds of brands. This entire scene irritated me a little bit, partly because I could not afford to wear such expensive clothes and partly because the underlying implications of this entire picture were not very flattering. Did I not feel confident enough to talk to these girls because of my clothes? Was my self esteem and confidence associated with my clothes? I hoped not.
At this point I would like to clarify that I do not hold a grudge against any of the above mentioned brands and their creators. They are all admirable personalities who have done some exquisite work in their respective fields. Their cost is also not an issue. Every artist/creator has the right to price his work as he pleases. What upsets me is that the person who owns products of these expensive brands considers himself superior to others who do not. A person driving a Mercedes can always scoff at a auto-rickshaw driver, call him names and abuse him for a trivial thing like parking his low grade vehicle close to his magnificent one. It appears that owning a Mercedes or a BMW is tantamount to being omnipotent. That is so not true.
There is no harm in endorsing any particular brand as long as we remember that is we who make these brands. Brands do not make us. A person’s integrity and intelligence, in no way, depends on the brand that he uses. There is no need to brand anyone. After all we are not horses. We are human beings.
So, let the Prada girl walk hand in hand with the Ram Market boy and make this world a better place to live.