Sunday, January 21, 2007

Of a matter infinitely more important than STAR TV

This post has nothing to do with media, and has nothing to do with advertising.
Heck, maybe it does.
Since everyone in advertising and media drinks like a fish, and since I’m a conformist, I drink like a fish, too.
And since everyone in advertising and media snacks on snacks when drinking like a fish, I snack on snacks, too.
The other night, drinking with some friends and discussing weighty matters such as the possibility of Peter Mukerjea’s acceptance of honorary chairmanship of the BJP or the Congress (I) in the event he quit STAR TV, we snacked on Masala Papads.
And Peter’s future occupied my mind every waking moment since then. Till this morning.
When I read The Asian Age.
All concerns about Peter’s future and Sameer Nair’s future were expelled from my brain, because every cell inside my skull was worrying about the million papads I’ve had with the zillions of litres of Foster’s.
All these millions of papads I’ve consumed: did they conform to the International Standards that “The Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants, controlled jointly by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO)” had defined?
According to the stringent measures, as culled out by the admirable Syed Akbar of the aforenamed newspaper, the papads should be of “pleasant taste and smell… free from rancid or bitter taste and should not crumble.”
They should also be “free from frayed edges, holes, dirt and fungus growth. On being fried, they should be crispy (sic) and should not be soggy or sticky”.
Most importantly, they ought to be “in the form of circular discs having a diameter ranging from 5 cm to 25 cm. The thickness should be 0.3 mm to 1.2 mm.”
I read this, and immediately reached for my wallet and my Sorbitrate.
I could swear the papads I last consumed (on the night we were concerned about Peter Mukerjea) were not quite circular and were smaller in diameter than 5 cm, and thicker than the 1.2 mm specified. And boy, did they crumble!
And it’s probably true of the millions of papads I’ve consumed during my 30 years as a professional in the advertising and media business.
And all these papads fail the Codex-FAO-WHO tests.
And you want me to worry about Peter Mukerjea?
I’m off to Hinduja Hospital to have a check up on the damage the papads have wrought. And if it’s not too bad, I’ll buy myself a set of Vernier Calipers or a screw gauge or whatever. When the next papad lands on my table next to my next Foster’s, I’ll play it safe.

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