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Thursday, 28 February 2008

What is Branding?

photo from
Apparently, branding is not just stamping your butt cheek with a red hot iron (as they normally do with cattle) or getting the name of your brand magically tattooed on your butt cheeks so they etch out "Tenacious D".

The corporate terminology supposedly encompasses a lot more; changes in the make of a product viz. the use of colours, type faces (fonts) such that the final visual appeal is immediately identifiable to a certain product or an organization. For an organization, branding implies use of predefined templates across websites/web pages, stationary, publications and all visible paraphernalia (brochures, visiting cards, calendars, etc.) adhering to a logo and set palette of colours, brandishing in unison a common visual identity.

How am I suddenly enlightened on such a concept? Repeat introductions from our program head, and following today's interactions with a branding consultant who's been at it for over a decade, I am suddenly an enlightened man. I also have myself convinced that we are looking forward towards a definite facelift. This also makes me ponder, since this exercise is likely to be an expensive one, how often will a corporation need one?

On a personal note, we seem to have unknowingly gobbled this subversion and willing succumbed to the branding culture relating the rabbit face with Hugh Hefner and Playboy, the red flag with a sickle and hammer with Communism.

Oh! what weird brains we humans have. Tsk! Tsk!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Nepal's 58th democracy day sans fanfare

With a populace mired into haplessness, because of the fuel shortage (among a lot of other shortages) in place and hence a lower amount of traffic plying on the roads, I wonder if our 58th National Democracy Day (19 February 2008) celebrations were any fanfare. I hardly saw any of it because I had to make my presence known at the office. Nor did I manage to catch any of it on the late night news, because I along with another few hundred thousand or more Kathmanduities were under the shadow of darkness (because of the 8 hour long load shedding schedule courtesy the Nepal Electricity Authority).

In the evening, I did hear rumors of bombs going off at a few places but did not care to corroborate them, because such rumours are almost normal even if they end out true.

I skipped going home and hung around Durbar Marga (King's Road) waiting on friends. The Royal Palace stood eerily quiet. Across the road, an octogenarian face, stood busily tethering portraits of the Queen onto a white banner 12-15 metres across. This peaked my interest, because the old man also donned a kurta with inscriptions on it.

I took the liberty of taking a few snaps and had hopes of stitching them afterwards into a full sized banner, owing to my recent enlightment on panoroma making software.

On asking the old man (who I later found out to be Mr. Lakshman Singh Khadka, a self proclaimed conductor of Nepal) if he would pose for a photo, he proudly showcased his kurta and banner. On them, were inscribed felicitations for the queen on her 58th birthday wishing the queen a long and prosperous life. Along side inscribed were articulates admonishing the politicos - "licensed cats from Delhi", who rendered Nepalese citizens hapless beggars sans water, electricity, land and identity (citizenship cards).

His rage against the political parties is well justified and well placed. On the contrary, his deference for an almost defunct Monarchy is questionable and I tend to wander if this old man were just a pawn and his presence timed by a 7000 strong crowd who actually made it a point to felicitate the queen.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Exhibitionists protest yellow journalism

This is truly a first for me, and I laughed my arse off (LMAO) when I came across this photo essay.

In a conservative Nepalese society, exposing your arse in public is a definite taboo and yet five, among a handful disgruntled protestors, affiliated to "Mano kranti Abhiyan" stripped and strode stark naked in New Road to protest against yellow journalism in Nepal. Chafed at the Nepalese media who failed to cover Mano kranti Abhiyan's self assessed feats of grandeur like attempts at a nationwide walk, walks on fire, broken glass and stinging nettle among others, the men stripped and exhibited their buttocks & genitals in public. And there's more likely to be more (according to, the group plan on having female members strip and create road blockades in the near future)

In my personal opinion, their solution to a not so rampant problem was a cheap publicity stunt. Sadly for them, and most amusingly, most Nepalese media houses chose not to cover the event. Both and, failed to recognize this stunt as news.

For the full photo essay by Kabindra Man Shakya, visit

Friday, 15 February 2008

bottoms up!

Cheers! Chin Chin!! Salut! Gyambe!! Bottoms up!!
are interjections that we as social beings, use while at the water hole, gobbling up goodies and sloshing down mugs/jugs/shots/glasses of alcohol. The usual Friday when friends and/or acquaintances meet for abnormal doses of booooooze, we tend to be in a jovial mood glad of the week gone by, but ever dreary of the Monday to come.

More recently over a cup of a tea, a brilliant colleague faultlessly pointed out that "Bottoms up, friends" (an interjection used to clear our glasses by chugging the drinks) directly translated into Nepali would be "चाक माथि, साथी" (pronounced Chaak Maathi, Saathi). Therefore, me inclining you to raise your glass would inadvertently be implying you to raise your bottoms (read ass) instead.

A pro-homosexual innuendo/translation would be a friend over/on my ass. Call me homophobic, but the latter does not sound very appealing.

TGIF (Thank God its Friday) and good luck with the booze....:-)

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Juno!! a feel good movie to the finish!

Ever been through in a fix while contemplating the purchase or rental of a movie; the jacket can only tell you so much. To top it off, if the cover of a confused pregnant girl gives you second thoughts, you could miss out on a realy feel good movie full of spunk (not the British one) as I almost did. I finally came about watching Juno after reading a column by Dubby Bhagat on the Himalayan Times English daily.

A twenty some year old Ellen Page in her depiction of the 16 year old headstrong girl, who ends up pregnant by her best friend simply because she felt bored one sullen night, is definitely a precious find. She fits snugly in her role of a 16 year old teenager and has been nominated for an Oscar for the award-worthy performance that she's delivered.

The direction is lucid and the actors provide a rivetting performance. The script that is the best part about the movie is quick and witty; if you are not fast enough, you just might miss out on a moment. I liked the ones by Juno and her step mom best - acerbic and yet funny, sardonic at times. Cody Diablo, a screenwriter debut provides the winning combination for the film. The sound track is just right and there's very little wrong with the film and is a hands down Oscar winner!!!

Friday, 1 February 2008

No bread? Let them eat cake

"Photo from Associated Press"Let them eat cake."1

Well mud cakes for that matter, for break fast, lunch and dinner.

Haitians seem to have resorted to eating mud cakes after basic amenities like (rice, beans and milk) became unaffordable. Rising oil prices meant unaffordable food prices, specially in the Caribbean where most of the food is imported. The mud cakes rich in calcium, meant to soothe indigestion is to be used as a staple diet instead.

Read the story from Associated Press, 29 January 2008.

A rivetting photo essay is here

1This quote (qu’ils mangent de la brioche) is popularly attributed to Marie Antoinette, a french queen from the 17th century who supposedly said it when approached about the populace not having bread. There are still various versions of this quote and disputes on who said what and when. Jean-Jacques Rousseau seems to have attributed to a "french queen" in his work "Confessions".

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