Sunday, September 26, 2004

the chips are not down

Couch potato is a term coined in recent years to aptly describe an addict of the IB (Idiot Box, for the uninitiated!)

His world revolves around the couch and the remote. He loves to curl up on the couch and stray away only for brief moments to attend to other more necessary and mandatory duties like having his lunch, dinner, releasing excess pressure etc..

Potato, in many Indian languages, is called ‘aloo’.

The episode in a cricket match in faraway Canada, where a cricketer was referred to as ‘aloo’ and the ruckus it subsequently created is still not erased from memory. This multi purpose vegetable can be readily converted into any number of eatables in the hands of experts.
Let us start with the simplest – the potato chips.

Sliced into wafer thin pieces after peeling and cleaning, these are allowed to soak in a salt solution and then deep fried. These miraculously transform into crispy chips – a heavenly delight, as some may say.

In olden days, when the matinee and evening shows attracted young and old alike to the cinema halls, sharing a packet of such chips inside the darkened hall trying to ensure that the sound of munching did not distract others, posed a tremendous challenge. If you had persons of the fairer sex for company, it was all the more necessary to suppress their giggles because girls have a habit of giggling whenever something unusual happens. In this case, trying to stifle the munching sound, when a certain amount of sound is inevitable!!

Today, a similar offering of potato chips are disbursed in attractive packages and marketed via the electronic visual media with the help of popular personalities who keep trying out new story lines to bring home the point that – ‘nobody can eat just one!’ The amount of money spent on such ads could provide full lunch for a couple of villages in Andhra or Orissa for at least a few days.

But, then, this is the world of consumerism and glamour plays a vital role in promoting the goodies. Many cannot afford such luxuries but the central idea is to create a desire for such products. That itself is half the battle won. Once a desire is created, the individual is bound to discover ways and means of fulfilling that desire. That is the second half of the battle!

Banana chips also have a certain amount of appeal, especially to the Southerners.

It is high time someone started an ambitious project to popularize this chip globally. A new set of personalities can descend on the scene to deliver the goods as per a fresh agenda – and, in turn, increase our Foreign Reserves. The new slogan could be – ‘banana ko na nehi bolna!’

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