Monday, April 21, 2008

Getting over first love

Pentax P 30, regular steel body, 80S make, Japanese, K mount SLR, as is lens 50 mm. no fuss, nothing grand. But i cannot put into words the feelings i have for this inanimate friend of mine. Countless are the memories i share with it.

My first memory of this camera was when I was a kid of maybe 5 years. We were at the zoo and my father was trying to take a photo of the hippopotamus. he was pointing the camera precariously into the wide well like structure where the hippos were kept. I was looking at him (not the hippos) worried that he might drop the camera. I did not take my eyes of him till he had finished taking multiple angle shots, put on the lens cover and had strung the camera safely onto his neck. I do not remember anything else we did/saw on that trip, my only memory is a Pentax P30. By the way, the hippo shots came out remarkably well. Dad is great at it. I am still working at it.

Dad was very posessive of the equipment, he never liked anyone other than himself handling them, so naturally, for a good part of my childhood, I could only long for it from a distance.

It was precious and I knew it. It is not unusual to consider anything that is not easily reachable to be a 'purpose of life' of sorts. When I was in the tenth standard, I took my first shot with the cam, that was one of the best moments of my life. that particular frame never got developed though :)

From then on, I captured in our backyard, a red ant carrying its food, bright red hibiscus in the morning sun, a silky green bug resting on lime green gooseberries and many more memorable shots - memorable only to me ;) My mom took one look at the ant's picture and asked me 'why cant u take normal pictures, of human beings?'

It was in the first year of my college that I had the camera all to myself for 2 consecutive days. I had to beg and plead with dad. It was a photo competition in an inter collegiate meet conducted by another college in town. My camera was the object of envy of atleast 50% of the students who took part. those two days were bliss. I clicked and clicked till the end of the day, I was happy and content, I didnt want anything more, my mind reached a point where it did not matter to me whether i win. But I won. Another best moment..

Once i moved away from home, it was a challenge to get dad to depart with his camera. But i did manage the undoable sometimes :)

With time and usage, the equipment has slowed down and now, even after getting multiple services done, I am unable to get clear pictures out of it. It is sad, it is heart-breaking. I still have strips of the LR44 maxell batteries that the cam uses. I cannot amount how much of money i have spent trying to get it into shape. I loaded a new film into it yesterday though i know it will be either over exposed or under exposed, the output will be grainy and distorted.
It feels like having a lover with Alzheimer's. You know you are losing him, but you cannot stop trying.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vanakkam Chennai

"The Times of India" comes to Chennai, and how! Jingles on radio, ads on TV, hoardings on the road - these are just the regular ways any product is publicised. The Times of India's publicity for entry in to Chennai has just proved that Times is indeed part of the intelligent media brigade.

Apart from the regular ways of marketing, Times is also promoting the newspaper, through events. Here are just two observations from a Chennaite who has got minimum media exposure.

Usually in TN, when we move into a new locality and occupy a house for the first time, we visit the neighbours/get the neighbours visit our house.
Times has got ARRehman performing live, for free! Those who need passes have to collect them from the newspaper's office. What a way to say "we have arrived!"

Today when I stepped out of the apartment building for the morning walk, a bright white and cheerful kolam with "Times of India" awaited me at the porch, where they usually have the kolam drawn. From thereon, I saw this happy kolam announcing the Times at every doorstep! This is some work of SOME brain! Really, what an idea! the last time i was so impressed with a marketing idea was when i saw small boards tucked onto gates saying "Do not park in front of the gate". The board and labour sponsoerd by a company that proudly displayed its name on the board. Fair enough. You take a social issue of warding of unwanted vehicles parking in front of building gates, bundle it with publicity to the sponsor and perch it free of cost on the front gates of buildings. all are happy (except few owners whose gates' paints were minorly damaged)

I wondered what would have gone thru the discussion when the creative team working on the campaign for Times had the brainstorming. 'OK so we are going to Tamilnadu. What do tamils like? what kind of ppl are they? what do they do?..they like music, they like Rehman. So pull in Rehman. They draw kolams everyday, they wont be offended if we draw a kolam announcing times in front of their houses!..' and so on.

The creative team has done its work, will the product itself be as good in understanding us? It remains to be seen if Times of India can gather up the kind of loyalty that The Hindu has among Tamils.