What a (rotten) Idea, sir ji!

Yet another Indian festival is coming up, and like every other brand, Idea has decided to make a new advertisement for Raksha Bandhan.

Every year, Idea has been making ads on everything that plagues the nation. Corruption, Cultural Differences, Overpopulation, Illiteracy, and Environment.

Each and every of those problems, solved by some half shit idea that wouldn’t be published in Champak, and a smug Abhishek Bachchan at the end smiling like he pooped an Oscar statue in the morning.

Now, I don’t have anything against bad ads. Pepsi has been making shitty ads since decades. Brainless montages of clips and punchlines that have no link whatsoever to each other. There’s no harm in that (except to MJ’s hair).

But it is pretentious ads that make me puke. And I don’t really see a point in it. I mean, it’s not as if you are educating the people about the problems of the country. Neither are you putting forth a serious (or even a funny) solution to the problem.

Instead, all the ads have asinine hypotheses like wives watching 3G on their phone to reduce population, or people using their phone numbers instead of their names. Which not only makes a mockery of the problems in the first place, they mock our intelligence. It is not interesting, it is not funny.

It is plain stupid. The kind of thing I would make my enemy watch on his deathbed.

With Rakhsa Bandhan coming up, the think-tank drink-drank at Idea Cellular decided to come up with another idea.

In this ad, a girl is riding towards somewhere, asks a cop for directions, and then ties him a rakhi. In the end, in the same smiling, pompous tone like in all their ads, we are told what a brilliant idea it is.

It is not, sir. It’s a fucking stupid idea.

Here’s why.

1. Cops are assholes.

The police is supposed to be the protector of law. The ones who enforce that everything goes in order and no one harms anyone else, and perfect law and order is maintained.

But in reality, the cops are hated. They are scoffed at, loathed, feared. Anything but respected. And with reason.

I have never seen one, not one, policeman who is polite, and seems like he is paid to follow some rules, and is not fucking Zeus.

The cops are bullies, modern day bandits who go around in their vans, immune and fearless – shouting, beating, bullying, and extracting money from anyone who they see fit, on that particular day.

No one questions it, no one says a word. You keep quiet and avoid a cop at all costs. I have seen young Home Guards – hardly 25 – abuse and slap an elderly gentleman. Films like Dabbang give the image of a cop a halo, making it even more acceptable that a cop can enter a room and start beating up people. No one finds any problem with that.

The government pumps in money, fuelling their vans, so these fat, unfit, uncouth bullies can go around striking fear in the hearts of people.

And no one says a word.

Transparency International, in its Global Corruption Barometer 2013 survey, that tracks public opinion on corruption, reported that about 75% of the country thought that the police was corrupt. Second only to political parties. Also, 62% of the respondents said they had paid bribe of some sort to the cops. Also, the figure for annual bribes paid on the road in India is 4.5 million dollars, and Transparency International themselves say this figure might be understated.

But it is not really the corruption that is unsettling about the cops. It is the impunity with which they treat people – like thieves and slaves.

But then, that’s not the only reason your idea sucks donkey balls. Here’s the second.

2. Cops don’t give a fuck about women.

Keeping general behaviour aside, cops mutate and transform into monstrous assholes when there is a woman involved.

You may get away with a few hundred rupees, or a litany of apologies, but take a walk with a girl at night, and you are walking around with a can of worms. They will haul you up, ask you for identification, your parents’ numbers, and generally talk to you as if you are a pimp and a whore, taking a walk in the night.

You have to watch how cops look at a woman in a police station, even if most times it is she who is the wronged one.

And before you accuse me of basing my opinion entirely on personal experience, kindly google up on crimes against women by policemen themselves. Forget sensitivity and a sense of duty, even basic courtesies aren’t observed.

soni sori

An intelligent system identifies a problem, and tackles it in the most efficient manner. Crimes against women have been reported everywhere, even causing ripples in the heart of power in the country.

Do you think anything at all has been done, anything at all, to even solve a bit of the problem?

Zero. Zilch. Shunya.

On the other hand, Salman Khan, a criminal who ran over people, will star in Dabbang 34, Sanjay Dutt will star in Policegiri, and Ram Charan, who asked his bodyguards to beat up two software engineers on the road last month, will star in the remake of Zanjeer, where he will play a cop who beats up people.

I am sure he’ll be natural in the role.

And still, no one says a word.

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So dear head honchos at Idea Cellular, if you could step out of your boardrooms and have a look at the real world, a world that isn’t infested with Bachchans, you’ll realise that the girl would stand in front of a raging bull, than approach a cop. No good can come of that.

And oh, you should fire the guys who make your ads for you.

They’re fooling you. They’re whoring out the biggest problems of the country to you, making you seem like an educated, concerned conglomerate. Do you have an idea that you seem like a bunch of no-brainer idiots, parading around with your lazy, hair-brained ideas, that have no link to the product you’re selling?

No? Well, how about you get idea?

24 thoughts on “What a (rotten) Idea, sir ji!

  1. Deepak

    I guess you enjoy pissing off people as much as I do and there we are brothers in crime, but honestly I’ve seen good samaritans in Bangalore police helping out chicks in distress, that’s another story that they were all pretty and not ugly, either way, the chicks were moslems and they were wearing the headgear that covers their face but doesn’t protect the skull, the cops were all ugly and were wearing too tight pants for their torsos…. this is a controversial post and unless you know somebody like pranab mukherjee, you, my bong brother might get screwed and I’d like to prevent that…….. freedom is an illusion as long as we are ruled by almighty congress at the Centre, kindly avoid such hard-hitting posts

    Reply
  2. Varun Shah (@EEvarun)

    Agree fully on idea ads personally, though there is some money they are persisting with this communication. Cos it helps them sell their product.

    But rather irresponsible comments about cops. A little thought on how much they earn and what conditions they thrive in, should help you. Saying ‘Cops are assholes’ is like saying ‘Doctors are assholes’ or ‘Bankers are assholes’.

    You see, there’s a reason why you slept last night without getting burgled or murdered.

    Reply
  3. Varun Shah (@EEvarun)

    Agree fully on idea ads personally, though there is some money they are persisting with this communication. Cos it helps them sell their product.

    But rather irresponsible comments about cops. A little thought on how much they earn and what conditions they thrive in, should help you. Saying ‘Cops are assholes’ is like saying ‘Doctors are assholes’ or ‘Bankers are assholes’.

    You see, there’s a reason why you slept last night without getting burgled or murdered.

    Reply
    1. heartranjan Post author

      Sorry, but that’s a stupid argument. Just because they earn less, gives them no right to act in the way they do.

      Also, look up reports by Human Rights organisations, and reports by Transparency International. The police is among the most corrupted of our systems.

      A carpenter earns very less, stays in worse conditions, and doesn’t even have the social capital that being a cop has. Would you let him do a shoddy work if he was making a table for your house?

      Poor pay is one thing. A valid debate point even. But that’s no excuse for inefficiency and insensitivity.

      Reply
  4. Bhaskar Banerjee

    Heartranjan, I am replying only because you have raised some important questions here even though I fully understand that the intent of your blog is more satirical rather than factual.
    I agree with you: the Idea campaign is asinine and cops are assholes.
    But let’s try to understand why cops are assholes. They are after all not an alien species which have been transported to monitor our streets. They are human and probably more representatively Indian than you and I. Let me explain why.
    Imagine what they have to go through to get into the force: probably lakhs of rupees have to be paid as bribes to make it in the first place. The salaries are almost a joke. Even the uniform allowances are insufficient. They are under-armed and worst of all they are given no training or cultural sensitization required to deal with a people facing job like this.
    The daily job is a grind almost unimaginable to our cocooned selves. It involves frequent physical endangerment with no training or weapons to deal with these situations. Double shifts, 18-hour bandobasts, VIP duties, no leaves for holidays (when things get even worse). There have been cases where unfit, overworked cops have literally collapsed from cardiac arrests during long duties. Since an over-worked and under-staffed department does not provide nutritious meals or exercise opportunities or even sufficient time for sleeping, this is only expected.
    The organization is extremely hierarchical and there are no real incentives for performance. Transfers, promotions and plum postings require lakhs and crores in bribes right from the constables to IGs. The low salaries combined with “sleaze” targets ensure that a policeman leaves no stone unturned to extract a petty bribe. Political interference ensures that policemen look the other way when criminal activity is being perpetrated by those with connections to netas.
    The verbal abuse suffered by policemen at the hands of superiors creates a Jungle-raj type of situation where any man who has power over any other man will do his best to display it. A decent middle class living and the fruits of economic growth have mostly passed them by. This explains why most cops won’t fail to humiliate you at the first chance that they get. A typical beat constable or an Assistant Inspector comes from a lower middle class family with traditional notions about the roles of men and women. This explains their discomfort or open hostility to a social arrangement where women need to be treated on par with men.
    In spite of all of these, many cops continue to do an outstanding job every day protecting our sheltered middle-class existence from rioting, robberies and kidnappings. Most people fail to realize that our cop to population ratio is one of the least in the world. The governments simply refuse to make much-needed investments in law-enforcement apparatuses. In Delhi, many cops have received extensive training and sensitization following the Commonwealth games and after last year’s gang rape case. My experience with street cops has been satisfactory and in fact almost pleasant (yes, in Delhi!). Of course the experience might be different for a poor rape victim but there has been progress following the media glare.
    On the other hand, I have found Bangalore cops to be the almost uniformly boorish, arrogant and completely drunk on power. On the 2 occasions that I needed to file an FIR (once for a missing passport and once for an accident), I had to use an SP-level contact to get it done.
    I agree with the author: the Idea campaign is simply trivializing the issue. However, if a girl were to tie a rakhi to a street policeman, she might be pleasantly surprised. Cops are human beings too, after all. In fact, girls tying rakhis to policemen, is a common occurrence in many Indian cities.

    Reply
    1. Mahima

      Completely concur. Much as I am a fan of your writing, Heartranjan, I feel the opinions expressed in this particular piece are a tad one-sided. The indian police is still governed by the archaic Police Act of 1861! There have been calls for reforms by various committees over the years, but the reforms would militate against State govts’ political interests, and have therefore been conveniently ignored. (For details, check out: http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=87&Itemid=98) This makes being a policeman in India an absolute nightmare. This is not to say that rude, corrupt and insensitive cops are justified in their behavior. This just to say that blaming the sorry state of law and order in our country solely on individual “cops being assholes” is rather unfair.

      Reply
  5. rantsaboutads

    While I agree most of the IDEA ads are reprehensibly terrible – especially the one on population which was in exceptionally bad taste, this one was quite good, and most folks have liked it.

    We can continue to be cynical always. This ad showed a new way to look at the situation and most folks liked it.

    Reply
  6. rantsaboutads

    While I agree most of the IDEA ads are reprehensibly terrible – especially the one on population which was in exceptionally bad taste, this one was quite good, and most folks have liked it.

    We can continue to be cynical always. This ad showed a new way to look at the situation and most folks liked it.

    Reply
  7. vinay

    Heartranjan,

    Am regular reader of your blog. Started reading it last year.. Today I went thru many of your short stories. Wow.. That’s the only thing I can say. You should definitely write a book. If a mediocre author like Chetan Bhagat can become best seller then.. (fill for yourself..) Anyway, do inform us reader about your book whenever its in market..

    Reply
  8. Priyanka

    I agree with you that the ads are stupid and practically meaningless. However, to say that all policemen are assholes is taking it a bit too far. Lots of times policemen have helped me on the road and most of whom I have encountered are polite. You know, no one cares that most of these cops are good people with families and they are mostly underpaid and have to work everyday, day in and out in bad conditions. They have almost no facilities or technology to help them work bettter. Do check out Crime Patrol. It is a good indication that most of our country’s cops are honest and hard working and they go to great lengths to keep us safe. You may say that all these shows are stupid but that would be your opinion. This is mine. But you are right about the Idea ads. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Grace Abraham

      Agree wholeheartedly with you Priyanka. Some cops are good, some are bad. Generalising them all as bad is unfair.Love your points on just how hard their life is.The one class of people I don’t feel guilty about generalising is : POLITICIANS.
      And I like the Idea ads. They may not be factual but they are funny and nice to watch.As far as ads are concerned,Mission Accomplished.Ultimately,it is my experience with the product that matters. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Kitaabi Keeda

    i haven’t read the ad…but my first thought when i read ur description was…it is a comment on what asaram another asshole said after the delhi rape…the girl should have called the rapists bhaiyya to avoid being raped…that is what i thought…about the police. but having said that…this is my opinion about delhi, up and bihar police…not mumbai…the hawaldaar, the traffic police men…i have met dependable and polite men too. but what you say is extremely important. thanks.

    Reply
  10. Nitin

    Once I told Idea customer care executive to stop wasting money on Jr. Bachhan and instead spend it on real customers… They immediately fixed the issue :-). I guess fixing Jr. Bachhan’s acting skills is difficult because of manufacturing defect.

    Reply
      1. Dinesh

        Dilip clarifies to me – to his relief – that he is with Vodafone…
        Let sleeping dogs (pugs here) lie…eh Dilip?

        Reply
  11. Kishan

    Couldn’t resist myself from saying that It should have ended with “No? Well, how about you get Idea, sir ji?”…

    Well written!

    Reply

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