filtercoffee

Kaapi Tales..

Circa 2005: In lush green 🌲🌳environs of Malleshwaram, one of the oldest & liveliest neighborhood of Bengaluru,I was wandering around 18th Cross Sampige Road (or Champaca flower, the street name derived from sampige trees which lined up the street, their lush canopy, providing fragrant, shady & much needed respite from the heat) for counseling to select a seat for my undergrad. It was Day 1 and the seat selection started bit late after all the proceedings and keynote speech to mark the start of new academic year. Accompanied with my dad, we had a quick breakfast where we were staying at our relative’s place in Laggere & headed to counseling in Malleshwaram. It was well past 3 PM when we were done with our seat selection, satisfied with the day’s events. It was time for an elaborate lunch or rather a brunch. An eatery nearby caught our attention which was thronged by people at the roadside. The taste of Rava Masala Dosa which I ordered from that Darshini, still lingers on my mind and over the years have loved the preparation and taste of this Delicious Dosa. Does any dish evoke such emotions in you? Do share if any 😛 if you had any such gastronomical delights.🍽🥣 Isn’t it strange that, a memorable taste from a delicacy had sometime in the past, evokes so many wonderful memories? Food for thought, isn’t it?

Pudi Dosa & Coconut Chutney

So what are Darshinis, which Bengaluru is known for? and How did it come into being? Let’s delve into some history and interesting nuggets about Darshini (that which is visible). It is attributed to a gentleman Mr. Prabhakar who is known as ideas💡man. Many of the hoteliers owe a great deal to him which changed the face of Bengaluru food scene big time. Under Prabhakar’s direction, Bengaluru got its first Cafe Darshini in Jayanagar in 1983 and now there are darshinis at every roadside and very much part of day-to-day life. It has modern kitchen machinery like wet grinders visible to customers from outside. One has to buy a token from the counter(pay-first-eat-later) and hand it over to kitchen staff. There are limited items in the menu- idli, vada, dosa varieties like masala dosa, set dosa, khaali dosa, rava dosa, kharabath(upma), bisibele bath(hot lentils rice dish originated from Karnataka), kesaribath(a sweet preparation from ghee and semolina or rice), chow chow bath(a scoop of kharabath & kesaribath) accompanied with tea and coffee. There is no furniture other than few, elbow-high pole with small round tabletop, used to eat standing. The only staff is a cleaning boy, who wipes tabletop as soon as customers leave. In a way, darshinis are a great leveler, that brings in people from all walks of life to enjoy a tasty and healthy breakfast without any special treatment in terms of service.

Inspiration: It so happened Mr. Prabhakar tagged along with his friend to Singapore for a business assignment. There he understood the market of fast food and was exposed to ideas like takeaways, minimalist but wholesome meals, payment at the counter and thus eliminating the need of waiters. He got so much inspired from the idea that he Indianized it to address and promote South Indian fare. It derives from Brahmin Satvik Tradition from South Canara region of Karnataka especially Kundapura-Udupi region. Udupi hotel in many parts of India is synonymous to South Indian hotel thanks to enterprising individuals from that region who specialized in showcasing culinary delight of South India whether it’s idli, dosa, coconut chutney and of course the coffee. Some of prominent Darshini/coffee chains have stood with test of time and earned the love of patrons over the years. Brahmins Coffee bar, By Two Coffee in Basavanagudi, Mavalli Tiffin Room popularly known as MTR opposite LalBagh, Taza Thindi in Jayanagar, Veena Stores & CTR in Malleshwaram to name a few. 🍛😋

Masala Dosa from Mavalli Tiffin Rooms- MTR, Lalbagh Road

Back story: Madhwacharya, a 13th Century saint from Udupi(temple town in coastal Karnataka), who founded the Dvaita school of philosophy established 8 Brahmin mutts and laid emphasis on developing a school of cooking strictly adhering to sattvik tradition. Many Brahmins from this region took to cooking as a profession and later distinguished themselves in running hotels & restaurants. Some of them dominated the business like Adigas, Maiyas, Bhats, Raos etc and set up shops in many cities.

Set Dosa

Pakashastra, the science of cooking had an elaborate structure to set up food. Its said that around 48 unique items should be cooked everyday as Lord Krishna’s neivedyam. The main segments of this rather elaborate spread consisted of five sweets, five payasams, five rassa (sambar, rasam), five fried items, five unboiled items(like salads), five anna(rice items),five vyanjana(pickles, papads) & five jeernakara(herbal chutneys-digestives). These were not to be repeated each day leading to innovation & food improvisation. Since all the preparations was meant to please the Lord, it made use of best of ingredients, cooking practices & highest level of hygiene.

Bisi Bele Bath(Hot lentils rice bath) from Veena Stores, Malleshwaram

The Legendary Mavalli Tiffin Rooms(MTR) is operating since 1920s. Very well known for its one-of-a-kind Masala Dose & Filter Kaapi, it’s said once Chief Minister of Karnataka stood in queue to savor it’s Masala Dosa. During second World War, when rice was in short supply, they experimented with semolina instead of rice to invent Rava Idli. During Emergency, the restaurant had to be closed leading it to reinvent and move into instant food business, a turning point.

Bubbling with energy, Filter Kaapi from MTR

In those days, Udupi in South Canara was part of Madras Presidency, Woodlands and Dasaprakash was established in Madras which became iconic symbols of fine South Indian cuisine. Basavanagudi in Bengaluru was later the focus of attention to Udupi’s entrepreneurs which led to establishment of Vidhyarthi Bhavan, Brahmins Coffee bar & later outlets like By 2 Coffee based on economy of scale-modest per customer income, minimal items, highest quality, consistent taste and hence largest footfall. Veena Stores & Central Tiffin Room(CTR) was setup in Malleshwaram.

Butter Masala Dosa

In 1990s, Mr. Prabhakar came up with an idea of Bharjari oota in Gandhinagar, a Mysore styled spread of unlimited rice,curries,rasam,chutney,buttermilk along with an MTR softee icecream(to promote new Softee brand 🍦) all for an incredibly low price of ₹10 which led to traffic snarls. Later he came up with an idea to sell food by weight owing to large demands by office going people which needed high quality food for their staff. Even today, such outlets exists and ever since has been a savior for many bachelors and students.

One of the SLV Darshini
Vidyarthi Bhavan, Gandhi Bazaar, Basavanagudi

India’s tryst with Coffee is said to have in early 17th century when Baba Budan, a saint, is said to have smuggled seven coffee beans from present-day Yemen while returning from Hajj in Mecca. He hid the coffee beans in his beard and planted them in the Chandragiri Hills of the Chikkamagaluru district, where they soon flourished. Britishers commercialized its production by establishing large coffee plantations in Coorg, Wayanad and other regions. In Southern Indian household, coffee soon became a necessity in around 19th century where they started brewing coffee with milk, mixed with jaggery/honey for sweetness. With the advent of coffee houses like Indian Coffee House, coffee spread to northern parts of India too.☕

Bonda Soup

In 1990s, Cafe Coffee Day(CCD) was one of popular hangout coffee shops which popularized coffee all over India. Its success is attributed to V.G. Siddhartha who inherited acres of coffee farms in Chikkamagaluru(Land of Coffee in India). He linked coffee and technology and started CCD, a coffee chain, first established in Brigade Road, Bengaluru in 1996. It was meant for customers to sit and surf the internet while enjoying their coffee; hence the name Cafe Coffee Day.The brainchild to provide customers with free internet, a novelty in the country then, is among the innovations that set CCD on its path to emerge the top player of coffee chains all over India. With teenagers as a primary customer, it came up with a tag line “A lot can happen over a cup of coffee” which became a go to place to hangout.🥤☕🍵🥪🍪🍩

Filter Kaapi

That brings us to an end of this foodgasmic tale.Hope you liked this distilled version, a concoction served hot & fresh 😛

Until next time, Be Good, Eat Good, Feel Good. Bon Appétit!!

References: Askew by T.J.S George

Find your WHY..

So we are home bound for most of the times. Unprecedented times, isn’t it? Who would have thought? Is there a word to describe the feeling of split second, when we wake up in the morning after a good night sleep and don’t think of the various restrictions we are put through during these times. How on earth, can a virus which cannot be seen through a naked eye, control our lives so much? While looking out answers for tough questions like these, its important to make most of the situation by following the mandatory precautions by staying safe & healthy & taking care of ourselves & our family. 👪

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe– Abraham Lincoln

On work front, the lines between so called work-life balance are blurring. Apart from spending quality time with our family along with getting things done at work from home, its important to spend some “me time”, introspect & hone our skills. Its best time to sharpen our axe to be stronger, be better, course-correct & stay strong during these times. While looking out for something, over internet while doing a side project, I stumbled upon Simon Sinek online classes. It said Live Online classes specially put up during these times to get inspired, be safe and know yourself better. I had seen his TED talk which was the talk of the town when it came up. If you’re yet to see, check out below 🕵

These sessions are one of a kind, interactive designed to walk you, step-by-step, through the process to find your WHY, finding your life’s purpose, your beliefs or causes. I personally gained lot of clarity after attending these sessions. One gets to interact with group of people across the world and apart from finding/or working towards finding your own true purpose, one can guide others by interacting, sharing their own stories. 👼

It mainly revolves around, constructing your Golden circle developed by Simon’s ideas and philosophies by understanding your WHY. 🎯 Whatever may be your situation, WHAT you do may change but your WHY must always remain clear and constant. During these uncertain times, many of us may be forced to reinvent ourselves, reinvent WHAT we do. It can be unsettling and challenging. So, its important we move forward and raise our game by facing all the adversities head on.

Do check out these sessions during your free time, these will be super helpful. https://simonsinek.com/InspireU#/

Signing off, until then, Be Positive, Stay Inspired, Inspire Others 🙌💪💯

Harsha Balur

This is my Infy..

Chilly winter morning in a software office in Bengaluru suburb, a discussion was going on regarding selling Infosys for an enticing amount of $1 Million (about ₹ 7.4 Crores).

9 years before, when Infosys was setup in 1981, they formed the company with a working capital of ₹10,000 with a major contribution from Mrs.Sudha Murthy by selling her gold from marriage. Once they started they realized with that amount, considering all costs & expenses, it would not last for more than a month. So they decided, they would lead a austere life, in-turn lay a solid foundation and much needed support to run Infosys. Their simple mantra was spend less than what you earned, that’s all.

Business then was very tough in India. To import a computer 💻, they took 3 long years, more than 20 trips to Delhi, the capital city, to obtain licence. Also, there was no telephone connection and it would take 2 years to do the same. To run a company during those times of slow bureaucracy and long-winded procedures,was a battle in itself. So they decided that other 6 co-founders barring Murthy to do the software development and work from US. That way, they would reduce the hassle and allow Murthy to hold the fort from India.

This is my Infy- song by Celine Dion

In 1990, the co-founders with the prospect of selling Infosys, with all the hard work & struggles that had to endure over the years, were hopeful to see the money now. There was a heated debate and everyone was giving their opinion and future plans of what’s in store for Infosys after selling it. Narayan Murthy, didn’t speak a single word and was listening in all the way and let his younger colleagues to have a say. So after 4 hours, when he got the opportunity to speak, he spoke about his humble beginnings, when he started off in a small apartment in Bombay. He believed then that it was his darkest hour before the dawn and then took a audacious decision to set up Infosys. Now that his colleagues were hell bent in selling Infosys, he offered to buyout all his colleagues without having a penny in his pocket. Everyone was stunned hearing this. Here was a man who could walk the talk, and never compromised any which way to sell his dreams. It paved the way to his colleagues to reconsider their decision.Patience paid off and in 1991, post liberalization, Infosys paved the way for showcasing Indian tech talent and software excellence to the world creating new possibilities.In 1999, Infosys became the first Indian company to be listed on NASDAQ, touching $100 Million 💼🎷

Today, Infosys has grown from a company of seven workers to a global corporation, an Indian behemoth,employing more than 2,14,000 people, with revenues of billions of dollars.🎯

With the man himself, Mr. Narayan Murthy.

A nice video to conclude – All the struggles that went in to build Infosys during difficult times, similar to the ones we see today to build a Indian unicorn 🦄, starting up from humble beginnings.

Signing off!! Until then Do good, Be Valued & Set an Example 🙂

-Harsha, Once an Infoscion, always an Infoscion 😇

My tryst with CHOLA Dynasty

Picture courtesy : Wikipedia

Circa October 1998 : Winter was here. For a school going kid like me, a 5th grader, chilly weather of October in my hometown was bliss. Winters would give enough reason to settle myself in the razai (read quilt) for some more time to enjoy the morning chill in my own way by sleeping more 😛 Getting up early was never heard of in those days and I would wake up just in time to get ready to go to school.

School was not following semester system then and it was more of a yearly evaluation with mid term exams during month of October. I was quite a bright student at academics, so passing exams was not a real struggle as such, it was more of doing the needful to get through the formalities. More so, because October 98, during the Dussehra vacation after the exams got over, my parents had planned a South India trip of 10 days covering all the major historical places.Instead of Looking forward, it was more of Eagerly awaiting 🙂

History fascinated me big time and more so I was curious about stories related to Indian kings and off course their queens 😛 , the grandeur, the opulence, changing dynamics of Raja & Praja, altogether a different perspective to leading life in those times. In 7th Century, there was a king by the name Harsha (Harshavardhana), my namesake. He ruled whole of North India and was a notable patron of Nalanda, a renowned centre of learning. This king along with other erstwhile royal kings captivated me. Gupta empire(some historians regarded Gupta empire between 4th to 6th century CE as Golden Age of India) under whose reign, India made giant strides in science, technology, engineering, art, literature,innovation, mathematics among others.After fall of this empire, there was some sort of turmoil. North India consisted of small republics and monarch states. That’s when Harsha united all the republics and in April 606, their representatives crowned him a title of Maharaja, King of Kings. Eventually, Harsha was defeated by Pulakeshin, a South Indian emperor of Chalukya dynasty.

When it comes to temples, and I am on temple-visiting spree, I term it as Temple Run for Fun. Because there is fun while learning something new when I visit temples, apart from a sense of peace, calmness and religious reasons one visits.Temples in Tamil Nadu along with my home state Karnataka among others have one of the best temples in South India. There is Hampi-focal point of the Vijayanagara Empire, Belur-Halebidu depicting Hoysala architecture,Chalukya’s marvellous Badami-Aihole-Pattadakal, Dharmasthala Manjunatha, Kukke Shree Subramanya, Kollur Mookambika, Udupi Shree Krishna temple in Karnataka among many other fascinating temples including 16th century Marikamba temple of Sirsi known for it’s now extinct Kaavi Art. In Tamil Nadu, just like Karnataka & Kerala, elaborate architecture and spellbinding beautiful scriptures at temples keeps one hypnotized. One such prominent temples is 11th century Brihadisvara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the temple town of Thanjavur. It is one of the largest and most visited temples in South India and is a prime example which depicts Dravidian architecture.

The main temple comprising the sanctum sanctorum, massive gopura (entrance tower), inscriptions and scriptures, houses one of the largest nandis, adorned with frescoes(a technique of mural painting) and the entire original monuments was built around a moat. It speaks a great deal about stories of glorious past. The main deity,Shiva is in the form of linga, HIS abstract representation. It is one of the largest monolithic linga sculptures in India.

———————————————-

We arrived in Thanjavur, along with group of around 40 people, our family friends and acquaintances to explore this engineering marvel. Absolute goosebumps!! Our trip organizer had arranged a guide to understand these megalithic monuments better. And as we were wandering around wondering, how on earth can this be done with such finesse and detailing, I hit the jackpot 🙂 Any guesses? Come on, make a wild guess. Pass? Anyways, Read on..

Our guide, who I suppose was from tourism department of TN State government was a humble chap with wealth of knowledge about the temple. It was his job, day in and day out, throwing light on the intricacies and the minute details of geniuses of bygone era. As he was explaining the dynasty and kings who commissioned this work, he mentioned Chola dynasty which is the longest ruling dynasties in world history. As he was about to say further and appreciate the prowess of the king who built this temple, I intervened and mentioned Raja Raja Chola much to the attention and prying eyes of the whole gang. The guide was amazed seeing my powers 😛 How come a tiny, skinny kid could know this at his age ? He was peeping at me between his lectures and after a brief interlude, he came up to me and granted me a brand new ₹ 5 note. It was such a great gesture, as back then it was a significant portion of his day’s earnings and I along with my dad was stoked and startled at the same time. We appreciated his kindness and politely declined his great gesture. In the end, he smiled and we moved on sharing pleasantries.

Back then, this small incident made my day and it still lingers on my mind as a passing thought which makes me wonder, indeed we are so much fortunate for all the goodness life has to offer. So it’s important to seize the day, one at a time 🙂

P.S: Point to be noted-To revisit a personal diary I had written back then, my first tryst with writing, reminiscing the amazing tour of South India and lessons learnt along the way 🙂

Signing off..

Until then, Be Good, Do Good & Keep Smiling 🙂

Meri Maa..

Happiness is seeing your mother smile…

It’s somewhat tragic that sometimes due to hustle bustle life we are leading, we don’t thank our parents enough for everything they have done to make us find a way to lead a good life. It makes complete sense to express directly to our mom how important they are in helping us to become who we are today.

So here it is…

Dear Mom,

I wonder what to gift you
on Mother’s Day and your birthday which comes a week after. I have never been a
good gift giver, so this is somewhat a challenge for me. After giving some
thought, I decided probably the best thing I could do would be to give you my
thanks and appreciation for everything you have done for the well-being of me
and my sibling to stand on our own feet.

I
am fortunate enough that of all the years because of the current difficult
situation and the unprecedented times we are living, you are staying with me
for some more days as you cannot return to our hometown because of lock down. I
can spend more quality time with you and treasure each moment. You have always
made me feel special and encouraged me all the way in my life’s pursuit. Though
one expects their parents to look after their children, I don’t think anyone
else could have done it any better. Beautiful, smart, funny, devoted, your
infectious smile, selfless love and everything else any son could ask for.

I want you to always know
that I love you and cherish you more than life itself.

Love
ever and always.

Regards,

Harsha

P.S: A small write-up to celebrate Mother’s Day in office 😊

Picture courtesy: bookcoverzone.com

Need a Quick Ride?

If we were to list major problems any Indian metro city is grappling with, traffic would be an foremost choice. The amount of time one spends waiting at a traffic signal is enormous. Simply put, Traffic is a menace for most of us. So if we know the problem, why aren’t we able to solve this problem convincingly? We know that we are staring at a complex problem here and many factors/variables come into play.

For a city like Bengaluru, over 70 lakh vehicles ply daily for a population of around 1.2 crores. This number of 70 lakh has more than doubled with more than 40 lakh new vehicles for the past 10 years. Staggering, isn’t it? Its a pain to see most of the commuters dealing with traffic woes on a daily basis adding to more frustration,stress etc.

Bengaluru Metro Rail are a great blessing for many ever since its inception as one can cover distance in less time and more importantly can be doubly sure of reaching a place at a specific time. But there is still a long way, until whole of Bengaluru is blessed with seamless metro rail connectivity.

For people traveling by road, public transport helps a great deal in terms of reducing the vehicles on road but may have to spend considerable amount of time dealing with the traffic head on. Commuters availing services of cab aggregators are ever increasing, their USP being point to point travel with all the convenience it offers. With growing population and ever increasing number of vehicles plying on the road on a daily vehicles, it’s a pain to see people traveling on their own car alone as big as SUV/MUV, isn’t a sheer waste of resource?

Pooling seems to answer this and helps a great deal to reduce the number of vehicles plying on road and these aggregators have solved the problem if not convincingly. They have their own set of problems like there are many detours one has to take for a different pickup, one may lose time considerably in pickup/drop of co passengers, not to mention some co passengers may be tough to deal with.

Quite recently, I got introduced to a car pooling mobile app called Quick Ride and ever since I have had a great experience. Compared to cab aggregators there are many benefits one can get from this car pooling exclusive app. First of all, one registers through corporate mail id after which one can get/offer a ride. Quite recently, they have added registration through Facebook account as well.

It provides an opportunity for a person owning a car and commuting to office daily to offer a ride to co rider who is traveling to same IT park. Rightly so, it takes riders convenience into account and offers ride through the route which he normally takes, without a point to point pickup/drop facility. So if you need a ride, you need to ensure that you on-board somewhere on the route taken by the rider. This helps in saving precious time for pickup.

Rides are very economical charging 50-80 for a 25 km ride. One can suggest a ride price too, if one thinks it is expensive. Based on the source and destination of your commute, one can select matching riders, check their profile, coordinate through messages/calls, GPS tracking etc. Some of the features are great like it gives a voice command for a rider for updates regarding upcoming pickup etc knowing that he will be busy riding the car. That’s really sweet, isn’t it?

Ride safety which is paramount is assured as the rider one is dealing with is a professional  himself and may be a colleague working in same firms as yours. A rider also knows that his co passengers are professionals too and are of no nuisance. I have seen more women availing this service as they are convinced of the ride safety. Moreover, it gives a great company to spend your time commuting with healthy and lively discussions and build your connections. In a way, you’re reducing your expenses(both for rider and ride taker), having a good company during your commute, building your network,  and more importantly by pooling, you’re reducing carbon footprint by efficiently utilizing the resources. One can see their Eco-Meter which provides stats like amount of CO2 reduced, number of kms shared etc. By quantifying , making you feel good and encouraging to share analytics among your network is a master stroke. Also, one more feature which is of great use is if you follow a fixed schedule, one can set a recurring ride so that you are notified and assured a ride every time. Also, all the transactions are done through wallet only and no cash is involved, one can redeem the points won at a fuel station too.

WhatsApp Image 2018-08-16 at 1.32.38 AM

By traveling alone in your car with 3-4 seats empty and complaining about traffic, one doesn’t realize they are also the traffic. So, if possible its great to carpool and Quick Ride has been solving this problem quite convincingly. If only they could market this product better, as I see people are getting to know and availing the benefits mainly through word of mouth.

This post is not a promotional post but my bit to promote the benefits of a really good app which is solving a problem which was waiting to be solved.

Utterly Butterly Delicious

This story is about most loved brand Amul-The Taste of India and their ever consistent advertising campaign featuring The Amul poppet(cute,little,naughty girl in her polka dots more often than not relishing Amul butter and other products).Their chief architect Dr Verghese Kurien was exemplary in bringing in the White Revolution, the largest dairy development programme in the world named as Operation Flood.

White Revolution was the offshoot of India’s Freedom movement, to empower the farmers by freeing them from the clutches of self serving middle men by eliminating them and in turn setting up a milk corporation. A farmer would bring milk cans on a daily basis to his nearest collection centre in his village and would be paid cash instantly based on quality and fat content in the weighed milk. The interesting thing here is, this milk is largely purchased by women thus empowering them economically and socially. 

Anand,once a serene and quiet village is today a symbol of modern nationalism. It is the headquarters of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd(GCMMF) and brand Amul. In the aftermath of 1962 Indo-China war, it was very difficult time for India. Agriculture was the top priority for our honorable Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri. He even went to coin a slogan- Jai Jawan, Jai Kisaan. One hugely successful programme was milk co-operative movement in Gujarat under the leadership of Mr. Kurien. In 1964, our PM, wished to spend one night at a farm in Anand without any presence of customary security.He along with Kurien sneaked out into a farmers place to understand and empathize about their current situation, their problems, concerns and experiences with the Co-operative movement. After a good connect, PM requested Mr Kurien to replicate this on a national level paving the way for National Dairy Development Board headquartered at Anand.

It was vital for Amul-the Brand to market its products more effectively to capture the imagination of all its prospective customers. They felt services of a professional ad agency were outright necessary. So they hired an advertising agency to do their marketing and more importantly they gave them free hand and didn’t interfere whatsoever. That was the wisest decision ever taken in what could be a unbeaten partnership(a partnership, one cannot emulate easily) by which Amul grew leaps and bounds.

The positioning statement for their Amul butter was “processed from purest milk under the most hygienic conditions by a dairy co-operative from Gujarat“. And that’s when, to further refine the communication-Sylvester DaCunha who was driving the advertising campaign came up with this winning slogan “Utterly Butterly Delicious” when casually discussing with his wife. Eustace Fernandes, the art director, visualized and sketched a charming little poppet in a polka dots frock with matching ribbon in her ponytail. She was licking her lips to say “Utterly Butterly Delicious“. She was cute, smart, naughty, innocent,cheeky without any malice. This was an outright winner and rest is history. Over 50 years of advertising with the same character expressing varied emotions with diverse messaging theme is legendary. It only brings back memories of The Common Man cartoon created by the master illustrator R K Laxman.

It was decided that the agency would go with outdoor campaigns and hoarding at prime locations of Bombay was the best bet. When the first hoarding with the Amul poppet was put up, it was an instant success. A housewife, was drying her clothes in her balcony when she saw few people gathering on the main road. As crowd grew, she rushed to see, whether there was any accident only to find her kid pointing her to the hoarding with a cute little kid advertising for Amul. Such was the power of their communication and it’s underlying impact on psyche of their customer.

After few stints, the agency planned to go topical with their campaigning picking up topics of national interest. However topical ads, posed a challenge. One had to select a topic, create a rough sketch, present it to client, tweak it to incorporate client’s suggestions and then after final approval,distribute it to hoarding contractors. This would easily take a week by which the topic in hand would loose its relevance and hence the connect.

This was when Dr Kurien did the unthinkable. He gave a complete free hand to the agency to create their own ads without any client interference. The client just like common man on the street had the first look only when it was displayed in a hoarding in select prime locations of Bombay.

This was a great gesture and led to an unassailable partnership, the campaign,the wittiness of the ad, gave us enough reasons to chuckle about over the years. However, it had its own share of controversy when some of the ads didn’t go well with some institutions and was dealt in appropriately when the need arose.

There are no favorites, there cannot be, as one cannot pick and choose few of the topicals which are great. They have been very successful in capturing collective Indian consciousness. Anyone from an 8 year old kid to a 80 year old octogenarian,can relate to their ads and relish them.

So what ticks for Amul in terms of messaging? Is it just about playing with the words and having a popular opinion? In Product Marketing terms, their messaging has a pattern of grabbing the eyeballs of the onlooker by which they reinforce their offerings, why they are best in the business? Why Amul butter is the best butter one can have, why they are ahead of the competition etc. Also, there is some sort of vanity and bragging rights, that using Amul sounds cool. They adopt a messaging which energizes and inspires and in turn persuades their target persona to try their products.

I know some of my friends who have created an album of sorts of their topicals. Personally, this book- Amul’s India has been one of the good reads to understand the story behind these topicals and different point of views from celebrities from all walks of life who have their own Amul story to share. It’s Utterly Butterly Delicious 🙂 Hope you enjoyed it as much I had putting up this post.

Picture credits and References: Amul’s India- Based on 50 Years of Advertising by DaCunha Communications

Netflix.ing

One of my recent obsession is a wide variety of TV series available on Netflix. My friend quipped, so many content to consume and we have only one life wherein we have some finite free time for TV consumption. Yes, we have been bombarded with lot of content these days, and what stands out is quality content. Netflix has a great following because of his rich content, TV series depicting whole range of stories from different genres, cultures, languages etc. Also, one notable fact is Netflix produces original content which possess great production values, book adaptations, other compelling stories etc. Some of the content comes by buying television and licensing rights from other service providers and streaming it on Netflix. Also, Netflix comes up with binge-watching shows wherein multiple episodes from a season are released at one-go. This creates lot of anticipation among fans and encourages audiences to watch season at one sitting.

Now, Netflix is eyeing Indian market in a big way and why not? As internet adaptation in India is happening in a big way and Netflix sees India to produce next million consumers. However, like in every market there is competition and Netflix has to compete with the likes of Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Voot, AltBalaji and even Shemaroo which has a huge repository of Indian movies. The approach Netflix is adopting is to produce more Indian content as other existing players like Hotstar generates great amount of local and multilingual content.

As a Original based out of India, Netflix started with a series called Sacred Games, based on a book by Vikram Chandra. It received rave reviews because of its performances, brilliant direction by ace directors like Anurag Kashyap & Vikramaditya Motwane, the setting where Mumbai city is one of the key characters and more so because of its riveting writing. Given that it is a TV series, it gives a liberty to directors like Anurag who doesn’t have to withheld his storytelling style because of censor or the so called Indian sensibilities, so in that sense gives great amount of creative freedom. With Sacred Games, Netflix India has got a great start and looking good for more India based original content.

Recently, Netflix India announced a series on Baahubali, a prequel based on the novel The Rise of Sivagami by Anand Neelakantan which according to me is a masterstroke. Baahubali, a Telugu movie initially produced mainly for regional audience, capturing the imagination of pan India,was quite a story in itself. Given the grandeur, vivid imaginary of a visionary director like S.S.Rajamouli and backing of leading Bollywood production company like Dharma Productions for its sequel, it created a record of sorts by being expensive Indian movie to be ever made followed by record collections. Now that Netflix has joined the bandwagon, with it’s great production values, it will surely receive new wings of encouragement to fly high and soar new heights.

Exciting times for Netflix India ahead..