Liquid Ache

Six winters waging a lonely war against myself, beneath a rougher sea, whelmed in deeper gulfs. A lonely woman leaning out of the tiny wooden window, my sable eyes staring at the wasted garden, waiting ceaselessly. Soft December night curled and fell asleep on my empty lap. Waking up to a bitter morning, time stained memories worsened my ache. Of friends, Of hope, of all bereft I strangled myself to a deep sleep, again.

His memories would wake me up from my deepest sleep. He would unlace the sloppy silver anklet of my foot, and kiss my bare heel with his scarlet lips. His lips would drive down my nape, tracing and tapping my collar bone softly. In crumpled sheets we would spend our days, amidst wine frenzy our mellow nights.

Sitting by the fireplace, gazing at the lofty pine trees covered with mist, and koti hills decked with twinkling lights. Restless nights, midnight smokes, long walks, all shorlived, a hundred indecisions all abruptly decided. The fabric of his presence started to fall apart. My tears unattended, my screams unheard. My calling rejected. Potting my bleeding heart in my pale hands, blood dripping. I swallowed the pain down my parched throat.

I would still go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of his face. But now my too tired heart started to retire. I knew no games I had only words to play with!

MORSELS OF ‘MAKE BELIEVE’

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day

But your kitchen can be!

And when bedtime comes around at last

Brisk LIPTON tea revives you fast!

“No more cavities” make mothers happy

Makes them feel that they’ve done well their duty.

From “open happiness” to “taste the feeling”

Coca cola did some relationship healing.

Some tears and “no more tears”

Absolut “drinks and memories” are here.

“Impossible is nothing” they tell you

“Just Do It” why don’t you?

I couldn’t agree more with Philip Kotler’s quote – “the best advertising is done by satisfied customers.” Advertising is a one sided persuasive communication with the customers, in which the customers are free to respond in their own way. A good advertisement appeals on many grounds and aspects of its customers – aesthetic, intellectual, emotional, and humorous.  I feel that an ad becomes truly powerful when the product’s essence is distilled, and a human connection is created. How the ad of Wildcraft, persuades us to ‘come alive’ by experiencing the outdoor and the boondocks, makes us desire to go to the mountains and how the Tata Salt tugs to our emotions with its emotive jingoistic tagline – “desh ka namak”. It’s a fact that people depend more on emotions than on information when it comes to making brand decisions, and those emotional responses become more influential on a customer’s intent to buy that product. The emotional marketing strategy serves a very important purpose, that is – it creates customer loyalty. It is true that people do not buy products; rather they buy relations, stories and magic. This is how a customer creates more customers, and the purpose of business and advertising is met. Advertising doesn’t build a business, it builds people and then those people build the business. It’s a belief that art and attention grabbing advertising don’t always work well together, but if for instance we take into consideration the example of Coke, its spot found a charming balance of romantic visuals, well crafted words and cultural resonance – all while effectively selling soda, a soda which even today after 127 years, pops and chats with us in our college canteens, becomes our movie-popcorn partner at the theatres, and we still ponder over its “hush-hush” recipe.

Let’s consider another example, which also happens to be the staple food of millions of young and old in the country. The quintessential “Maggie mother” and her “bas do minute” magic has been ruling over our hearts from the past 36 years or so. Maggie as a brand plays on nostalgia to win the hearts of the customers as well as their trust. Maggie has been an important part of the growing years of 80’s and 90’s kids, and “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie” is still etched in our hearts.

Paper Boat ads too tug to our nostalgia with its campaign that includes heartwarming lyrics penned by Gulzar and that magical soundtrack of ‘Malgudi Days’, however this experience of a childhood spent in running after the kites, climbing trees to eat guavas etc. wouldn’t be of much relevance to the present generation, but it does its duty well by providing its customers with a raw and healthy option in a maverick packaging.

The advertisements have created a convincing space for the customers to believe in that alternate space that may or may not exist. In simple words, the advertisements, by showcasing families, mothers, childhood and perfect households try to present that image of an “AMERICAN DREAM” that could be realized if the customers buy a particular vacuum cleaner, or a pressure cooker, or a barbeque grill that would be the ‘life’ of any house party and very mobile. The family picture doubtlessly plays its part well in persuading customers to go for a particular brand.

Apart from playing the family coin, some advertisements showcase gods and goddesses on the pedestal, advertising, for instance a soap bar. Take for instance a vintage ad of pears soap in which the image off mother Goddess Saraswati is portrayed in such a harmony with the brand.

The markets target all sorts of audience and buyers, the advertisers know what customers expect and how to bring to them what they desire. It is all about showing value, creating an experience, and always striving to meet or even exceed the customers’ expectations. Good advertising is simple; it simply makes good food taste better “taste kahan hai? Taste yaha hai” (Everest spices), it makes cars run better – “your journey, our passion” (Bridgestone tyres), it changes the perception of everything. Advertising is simply looking at usual things with unusual eyes and showing the same to the customers.

The ravishing “Wildstone perfumes and soap” seductively brings alive the power of smelling good in endearing ways. Though the campaign has evolved from being the usual tongue-in-cheek reference to what smelling good could do to a “Man”, and all those images of men drenching and dousing themselves with deodorants and women going haywire and crazy with lust, has recently broken all those “topless men and women in heat” conventions, to make it appear more intelligible and less sensual. Music, just like celebrities in an ad prove to be of a great use for the success of an advertisement and a product altogether. The songs in the backdrop consciously nostalgic and engaging, with all their lyrics and honeyed verses drive the audience to develop an emotional bond with the product. The Imperial Blue’s “pyaar ki raah me chalna seekh”, stands as a melodious example for the aforementioned. This strategy leads to instant happiness and gratification. An old adage fits best here – “people buy emotionally, and then justify logically.” Advertisements focus broadly on the middle class audiences, the prospective buyers turn out to be from the middle class and marketing to the present day middle class (the people who neither smell of some expensive cologne, nor of sweat), it requires a little fancy juggling, as the cash-strapped consumers are choosier when it comes to where they spend their shrinking discretionary income. This section of society has great expectations from whatever is introduced in the market. I would conclude with a quote by Zig Ziglar- “If the customers like you they’ll listen to you but if they trust you they will do business with you.”

 

Image courtesy : pintrest

 

 

Winter Beats

Would you now walk through those half deserted streets, lounging away the restless nights in one night cheap hotels? Would you be the age old whiskey to my now so parched throat? Do you remember under the light muslin the love we made?

Your pale hands I’ve loved beside those rosewood hued lips. Frozen in your warm embraces, did you leave me alive just so I could be lonely? And here I’ve prayed for you midst the minarets and sunsets, when the foggy days rubbed their muzzle on my window pane, and the rainy nights dampened the backyard of my heart.

SPECTRE GREY FROST everywhere.

I’d part the thick curtains of my room and muse over how like winter hath my absence been from thee. What old December’s bareness deep down I’ve felt. But I never mentioned longing or fear. I crouched like a good refugee and forgot why Autumn is harder than Spring.

Moonlit autumnal nights, rummaging through old pictures. Someone shot the air gun in the sky, a bluebird fell dead in the backyard, and so did you in the backyard of my heart.

Better my art you batterer of my heart! Live in these words while I fill these pages, live while my fingers ragingly ache. Live and die, die and live altogether.

Pic credits : Pinterest https://wallpaper.arabaresmi.com/2019/12/10/34598/

Wither

Dressed in a peacock blue saree, her glossy wavy hair subtly hanging at the ends of her shoulders, she wore a daunting red dot in the centre of her forehead. Wanting to be her best, for him. It was to be the end of that relentless waiting, that dreadful loneliness, when time had hung heavy on her, it was to be the end of it all.

There could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison as theirs. They were meant to be together.

She had bought fresh garden orchids and had stacked them in the glass vase, they loved orchids. How, she remembered he would cheer her up with orchid bouquets whenever she would break down or get worked up! They would sway in the aroma of orchids all day all night, he would tickle her toes with the tiny buds and she would laugh her heart out. Soon their lips would clasp into a subtle kiss!

The sound of the doorbell excited her, she ran to the door, the sound of her anklets laden feet echoed in the whole vicinity, her heart beat surged up. She lit up all the chandeliers in the hall to welcome him back. Opening the door wide she found a letter saying – “I give up.” Where she thought of basking in his warm hugs, running her fingers through his hair, kissing every inch of his face; she was served with despair, beyond repair.

The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.

She stared at the letter in her trembling hands. The hands that he kissed now held the testament of his incapacity. A heaviness took over her, a heartache, a numbness. Under the shower broke out a river of tears from her colossal eyes, the Kajal smothered…dribbling down with tears.

It had been years now that the orchids had withered and she hadn’t disposed them off. Today another year passed and she again dressed up in that peacock blue saree, with a daunting red dot now on her wrinkled forehead, put on Kajal in her eyes with her trembling old hands, and waited for the doorbell to ring! Waited…under the Amaltas tree in her garden, among the autumnal winds, the summer sun, the swirling spring and the dying winter. She waited onto him. Waited with those dried buds of orchids in her aged palms.

They say with love comes longing! And a love even for sometime is enough to last for a lifetime!

And then he came….with the orchids in his hands and pain in his heart. At a loss of words! “Sorry” was all he could say and she was no more there to forgive him with that subtle kiss!

The ceaseless ache

Leela’s eyes had lost none of their glitter nor her walk it’s old rhythm.

She ascended the stairs, her anklets jostling, her infectious giggle rippling like a fresh brook finding its way into the locked domains of his heart.

The memory of that moment hit her like a surging ocean wave- drawing her into it, the sour smell of darkness, those sobs erupting like an echo from a bottomless pit. She held his burnt photograph in her old, wrinkled hands feeling odd how simple things can still remind one of those terrible times and how the moment one tries so hard to forget becomes ones sharpest memory!

He caught her by her tender arm ornate with green glass bangles that made a cracking sound. His lips whispered “leela” in her ears, she shivered and giggled and started running…he ran after her and caught her by her slender waist….delving deep into her fragrant jasmine adorned hair, he felt her entering into him through the forbidden passages.

She thought about all the rules they broke in the name of love. Those evenings at Assi ghat when on the far end they mused over the pyres burning, and feared they’d too die someday, feared about who would be left alone if one of them dies early! She walked on those water smeared steps telling him to take her away….it was time she turned on the radio, and request for the song ja ja ja o bewafaaa….that played every evening on one of the monks radio on the ghat, he would’ve been a victim of unrequited love, she thought then, and empathised with him now! And with a cold sigh, “Angad” she would say….and lie on her broken chair, plunging back to thoughts of him that were now 40 years old and still new!

But he IS there…she knows, in the balmy Subha- e- banaras, whispering her name in her ears. He is there in the orange embers spitting from the pyres, he is there among the boats on the Ganges, in those simmering hot tea cups, he is there in the evening Aarti on the ghat….he is there in the floating oil lamps, he is still there holding her by her old tender waist….he is there like no one else ever was, or ever would be!

Melodic melancholy

Barefoot, I sauntered on the old, cracked wooden floor of the little deserted cottage that I had rented for a week in the unruffled backwoods of Dagshai. The morning mist collided with my face, with the gush of raindrops, numbing my nose. With no hint of morning sunlight, the fog grew denser and rested on my gossamer covered body. The frozen wind sat cross legged on my nape, and untied the knots of my hair.

And there was a sound…

A maiden voice, practising the morning Riyaz, the Farida khanum song woh jo Hume tumhe Qaraar tha….tumhe yaad ho ke na ho..” escorted by mild tabla flaps, along the wistful wailing of the melancholic flute. I could hear the subtle tinkling of her anklets and treading of her soft slumber feet. With the murmuring shadow of the intricate raag and riyaaz in that dark dawn, my oblique memories of you filtered.

Years ago when we were here, under the evening sky and the faint scent of the sultry air, resting together in the great lone hills in the storm filled weather, watching the skies as they paled and burnt. Under the shade of crimson dyed Palash trees, I rested my head in your lap, looking at your sunlit, passionate eyes, touching your roseate velvet skin, slipping into a brisk siesta. Waking up from which, I know not where you went! Maybe you hid yourself behind the branches of the Palash or went wandering alone in the woods…Or got lost in the hills somewhere, and you never came back…just never!

Now when I stroll in the Moreish calmness, amidst the squealing sound of towering pine trees, I feel your placental presence, your fingers locked with mine, your cologne mixes with the fresh roses in my hands, and walks with me to the cemetery, where you sprawl in the moist mud, recline in the turf of grass and whisper with the wind, lifting the strands of my hair and blowing soft kisses on my ear, giving me chills…still!

वो जो हममे तुममे क़रार था तुम्हें याद हो के ना याद हो
वही यानी वादा निभाः का तुम्हें याद हो के ना याद हो….

Here At dagshai, by your side, I too shall sleep, a sleep that lasts forever, too deep for dreams….in flesh and blood we couldn’t mingle, maybe among the shingles and mud our dust may mingle. I haven’t forgotten that promise! I wouldn’t!

Picture credits : Pinterest

Dreamy reality

My lips kept absorbing the sparkles of the rose gold firewater, my eyes kept meeting his shy eyes, my lengthy glances and his brisk denials. A rare, unmatched comfort enveloped me from all sides. A ripple of the past crossed my mind and the present woke me up to a dream that was in front of me, a dream that I wanted to wrap in a blue cloud cloth, away from the too rough fingers of the cruel world.

Moonshine lonesome

Tonight, the moon waxed among the garland of a million stars glimmering in the inky sky. I sat in the balcony, alone, dreading the loneliness for the first time. My coffee and my life were at parallels, dark, bitter yet strong and addictive.

The only noise was of an old owl howling and the evening egrets flapping their little wings and my noisy stream of thoughts. I wished for his balmy touch on my cold shoulders, his soft lips on the back of my head, his ticklish whispering in my ears that would make me laugh, his taking my hand in his virile hands and twirling on any song we hummed under our breaths.

After a fatiguing day, I would retire to my bed, a bed hardened with the bouts of his thoughts and incessant tears that desired for his presence. How he would curl his arms around my waist, and cup his chin in my shoulder, how I would hold his hand and feel safe. Now it’s just a dark forest where I walk alone, following my own breath, nobody to comfort me, nobody to walk along, my feet tired of walking, stop somewhere where I see him, calling me to soak me in his arms…and disappearing all the same! His illusion keeps me going! His vague presence makes me toil. He’s far…very far…but his thoughts keep me alive!

F(O) re (VER)

The sun sank lower in the sky, changing to shades of tangerine and the cotton candy clouds blushed pink with the balmy touch of the setting sun, and there I waited near a bangle sellers cart, for him to come, hoping to recognise his face; after all it had been a dozen year! And there he was with a smiling face and I waved at him. Soon we were walking through the piazza, my eyes shifting from him to the glittering lights and sky and people around, and back to him! “Coffee?” He asked and soon we were strolling past the unfamiliar faces on that evening, the two of us….in search of a coffee shop! On entering the coffee shop there was a silence that enveloped us, and we decided to break the ice by placing an order. I saw him go to the billing area and saw him come and we talked about this and that! I was opening up to him like a blossoming bud.

Then, I saw his face lighted up among those dim coffee shop lights, and his attentive eyes and that strong shot of cappuccino and my endless talking, and his yes’s and no’s (mostly yes’s) and I had found someone whom I wouldn’t trade for life, someone on whom I could count! But now I see him as someone whom I used to know, and suddenly nothing matters, everything has faded like the world to a blind man and fog after the sunrise. It isn’t easy to love someone who doesn’t love you back in ways you want her to love you! There was tranquility in the way I love him, there was no obsession, no possession….only tranquil love, a love that his somatic, carnal blurred eyes couldn’t see! To love someone isn’t in our control but to walk away from that love is!

Shades….

In the cloudplay on a blustery day and dead drizzling on a stormy night, he came to my mind in shades of greys leaving me in blues. The winds whispered to my ears a thousand memories of him and I sauntered down the memory lane.

Standing on the edge of a cliff, ready to take off, his deadpan gaze at the world beneath his feet, so unflinching, so passive, his glider would unfurl and I would skip a beat, and open my eyes to see him flying, higher and fearless! Those were the times he would forget me….forget himself…..forget the world!

On the moonless nights, we would stare at the shallow sky and talk of this and that! He would warm up my cold feet under the sheets and caress my nape with his soft lips until I fell asleep! I’d wake up in the middle of the night to a balmy view of a thousand glittering lights festooning the hills and his head on my my lap, and I would feel complete!

The dark dawns would keep us in covers for a little longer, and I’d feel melancholic with the thought of letting him go! He’d hold me closer and whisper to my ears- “these mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”

And I saw him slowly and hazily disappear into a thick, dark forest, dispersing into a thousand shades of grey, swaying away with the winds, far away somewhere where he greets me when I’m lost and blue!