This and that

Bad ad! Mostly..

Ads these days…

These days every house is infested with television and the 1000 odd channels that come with this biggest vice! Of these, half the channels are for children and what is worse is that they are full of advertisements. The influence of these advertisements on our children is appalling. They seem to know every new product that is launched.

The message these ads pass are totally misleading, in bad taste or send a whole assortment of undisciplined signals to the viewers. The biggest dupe master, I have already mentioned this in my health drinks hub, is the Bournvita health drink and its’ ridiculous claims. The others to join the club are Fairness Cream ads, Shampoo advertisements featuring renowned figures, dishwashing bars, detergents and after wash for clothes, I can go on and on; the list is endless. Advertisements are exaggerated and need to be understood and treated after removing the garnish and spice!

The kids and adults alike are so keyed in into these ads that we have gotten into the habit of indulging just for the heck of it! Let us give this new brand a shot, a beginner’s try and see if we like this product or not! There is no silver lining in this abysmal dark gloomy cloud of advertisement menace. To top it, some ads get away teaching bad manners too! The kids bribe the grandparents and get things done or in another ad the child is asked to share a chocolate and the child starts to whine and cry! The mother and the granny both console the cheeky, impudent child and get another bar of chocolate! The casino ad‘s tag line is “Let’s have some sweets moments together”! What in the heaven’s name are we trying to teach or impart to our children with such ads? They can get away with anything! There is one more where the mother is standing at the child’s beck and call and the child is playing ‘Emperor’, ordering the menu of choice for dinner! Goodness! Absolute blasphemy, these ads are!

The only good ad I have chanced upon lately is that of an Insurance company. The father encourages the child to say ‘Thank You’ to the help at home. It teaches the basic values and etiquettes to the kid helping him/her to grow up to be a good human being. My congratulations and thanks to this ad team. Why can’t we have more of these and do away with all those? Even though I am loathe to agreeing that the chocolate is irresistible, but if a good deed is done by doing away with such irrelevant advertising, I am all for giving up eating chocolates! In fact, I resist buying my daughter that chocolate from the time I set eyes on that foolish ad!

 

Writing for kids- Challenging?

Writing for kids- Challenging?

Really challenging

The present generation is a very smart and discerning brood. Boredom sets in within the blink of an eye and interest levels come and go at light speed. They want everything to be done in a jiffy, toddlers to adolescents alike. With studies, they can barely wait to finish a chapter, the last few sums remain unsolved forever, yet they are over confident and feel that they know everything like the back of their palm. Forget studies, even enjoyment and fun are in a very hurried state. They rush from one game to the other, one puzzle takes two extra minutes and they lose interest. They read a thriller backwards! They want to know the end first and then read the whole book. What exactly should we write about, so that the children stay interested, is maybe the million dollar question to be asked.

Secondly, Television plays the biggest truant and is the toughest competitor in a child’s world. Everything revolves around the television, everything is available on the television, and everything is taught on and learnt through the very same television these days. With this menace holding the centre stage every other form of recreation, learning and entertainment has the fear of falling short of expectations. Parents are so tired of seeing their children becoming couch potatoes, they are encouraging them to go out and play, any physical sport to expend their energies or they enroll them into some extra-curricular class to keep the child busy, occupied and away from the darn television sets.

Last but not the least, the area of interest is so diverse these days that to be able to write for children it becomes imperative that you really know children and what their likes and dislikes are. Picturesque books are accepted for one segment and yet another will want an educational kind, or maybe a science fiction. The parents may be keen to see their children read the mythological tales, the books and comic strips they grew up reading. It requires great imagination and creativity on the part of the author to correctly cater to their recreational needs. Moreover, the parents will want to see some morals and learning in each tale, otherwise the book holds no appeal or value for them. The affect needs to be positive; and also appeal to the child and parent both! It needs to something different, unique, not belonging to the mundane world. It must engage the fantasies of the child and yet and keep the child and the parent happy and satisfied. The writer will definitely have to have a very lucid imagination and enter deftly into the child’s world and be the child and the parent in the same breath. The book must have a world which can be drawn in the mind of the child; a very impossible thing for an adult to conjure; not to forget the persisting enigma.

your book being read!

Few tips to overcome the challenges

In the above scheme of events and happenings the habit of reading itself is fast becoming obsolete. The genre of parents’ that encourage reading or the children who are avid readers are in the antique segment verging on the extinct levels. With the scales dipping heavily in the author’s disfavor, it is definitely a challenge writing for kid’s these days. The readers are a mere handful ;to write something which keeps them enraptured, interested and longing to continue to read is a Himalayan task. Most of the fiction available in the market today are a onetime read and throw kind. If the author is being repeated it is purely because of suspense or a gripping mystery yet to be solved and being carried over in a sequel. These books are devoid of any value learning and offer out and out entertainment alone. How to keep the curiosity juices flowing and also add some value and learning with every new reading is a tricky task.

Am sharing the few tricks of the trade to stay on course and also win the race with self confidence and persistent efforts. There is a very famous saying, ‘Monkey see monkey do’, and this is exactly what the writer may have to do for sometime in order to become the next J.K.Rowling. First pick the age group that interests or tickles your writer’s instincts; it maybe in the age group of 2 to 6 or 7 to13 or even 13 to18, whichever is ideal to the writer’s comfort level. Writing styles for all the three age groups varies accordingly; from the content, design outlay to the pictures in the book. Once you have picked your group of interest, spend as much time as possible with them, observe them, their interest, mannerisms and the flow of conversation in that group. Peruse the successful books in that genre and try and summarize the common thread in all these books. This abets in inspiring the writer and a surge of ideas come. The writer also fathoms the fiction and non-fiction group and with which the writer is more comfortable. If any extra skills need to be honed for this purpose then that should be the next step for the writer to be. Since parents are the ones who buy the books for their children it is advisable to be conversant with the interest of the parents also. Some are very articulate about what they want their offspring to read and possess as a collection. This tit bit information enhances the chances of success for the writer. A writer may wish to rewind and dwell upon his/her childhood days and analyze what piqued their curiosity at that age. And what changes have occurred from then to now, the same fairy tale yet with robotic clothes maybe! Don’t allow a few rejections to bog you down. It is a big world and each receives their share of the sunshine.

Simply believe in yourself. As any wise person would say and believe, ‘For a willing heart even the impossible becomes possible.’ Similarly, for a person who wishes to write for children; writes in a way that the children relate to the author and the books are read and collected too, Harry Potter is the biggest example. So, success as a children’s book writer is still virtuosity, challenging though it may be. But again, what is the fun in achieving without a few challenges on the road to success, right?

Fat? am I really?

Fat? am I really?

Then-

Like everyone else I also used to try and stay thin or shed the excess weight, I thought I had gained. My better half is also on the round side, so both of us have left nothing to chance. You name it and we have tried it. He keeps experimenting with Yoga, then regularly going to the gymnasium for exercising, try Atkinson’s diet, leave smoking, alcohol for 3month tenure, totally avoid carbohydrate intake, I am forgetting what else he has tried. Unfortunately, the result has always been the same. He loses barely 5-10 kilos then he relaxes and is in no time fighting the battle of bulge again. This has been so for the last 16 years of my married life. These days he is battling with himself to get a surgery done or joining the VLCC slimming program. Apart for the smoking and alcohol, which I luckily don’t indulge in, even I have participated in the rest of the mad regime along with my better half.

As a child I used to be very chubby; not just chubby, I almost bordered on obesity. My mother could barely carry me for 8-10 minutes at a stretch. After that her arm used swell and she would be forced to put me down. When we used to visit or meet someone new, the visitors always used to guess my age wrong. When I was 6 months I used to look almost 9-10 months and weighed about 12kilos already! I was born some 4-25kgs and looked a 2+ month baby on that day. As I grew up I realized that I was doomed to be a fat, no, a pleasantly plump woman. This never bothered me though. I used happily eat clarified butter and luxuriate in rich food. Growing up to be a fat woman was a long way ahead and I was not going to spoil my childhood trying to lose weight. During my growing up years I used to fall sick, lose weight, then eat like glutton become round again. Looking thin was a mere dream for me. I did put in a lot of effort to stay just that, nice and chubby, till I got married.

Fat me

chubby baby

now

Then, I had to undergo two surgeries; both my kids are C-section babies. Both the times I put on a lot of weight (10-15 kilos) and both times, by the time the kids completed their first year I was back to my usual weight, the nice and chubby kinds. So, magically I stayed pretty much on the bordering fat side of my weighing machine. Don’t know where and how my excess fat disappeared and how all the clarified butter melted. This is for the entire tense women who are desperately becoming anorexic. I am glad I retained my curves, because curves suit us, well-endowed is what we look because of these curves and small bulgesJ. And till date, I am 43 today, I am not fat. I think of myself as being correct!, having the right curves ,a little more endowed than the rest of the woman , maybe, but very satisfactorily thin and nice. So, being a healthy child and being doomed to obesity is a myth proven by my firsthand experience.

In case, the reader feels that, I am freak, fluke lucky case, I will attach my daughter’s pictures too. She also was a very – very heavy, healthy baby, and she was never sick. Today she is eight and has naturally lost all her puppy fat. She looks healthy radiant and lovely. She will turn 8 in a few months and looks a picture of perfect health. She has not an extra ounce of fat etc., and yet is round and very appealing.

Looking thin or fat has more to do with the bone structure of the individual, and less to do with the mass of the individual. Look at any movie star, if she or he has a narrow long face, that person automatically looks thin or rather never looks fat. A person with a round face will naturally look round, how can you look anything but round if you have that bone structure? Even if you fast, you may faint and need to be hospitalized but you will still look round. My elder sister and I are the same height, she weighs more than me and I always end up being asked to shed a few kilos, and she on the other hand is forever asked to put on a few kilos. She has a broad bone structure and a long face, I am a perfect round. Whatever we both do these basics cannot be changed. I find it very amusing now, earlier it was insulting.

In India thin is not in, curvaceous women are more appealing than the stick thin genre. As for the men, I can only say what my husband repeatedly tells me, ‘As long as I am able to look down and see my toes, I am comfortably healthy, beyond that I am fat!’ So gentlemen, please keeping your toes in sight, always.