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Brand Spectacle

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A musician can find music in silence, an artist art in emptiness, and a brand enthusiast branding, anywhere.

Though I didn’t hear the word brand in my formative years, I still can’t help recollecting how branding was prevalent in all spheres of life, across the walks of life, and amongst people of different hues.

Diwali was a time of sightseeing the streets, the bazars, and certain locales. As teenagers, we could hide our excitement as we went for our annual rounds to feast the spectacle of festive decorations.

The bazaars were basked in brightness, shops dressed as brides, adorned with flowers and lights, each yearning for well-earned attention. The jewellery shops, in particular stole the show. While most were strikingly handsome, some were on our must-see list, as they always had a special touch about them.

Years later, I understood this as branding. They used every opportunity to express themselves. They didn’t go through the motions. They planned, toiled and assured that they used it as a brand building exercise.

Celebrations have different hues, and in the eighties crackers were a popular expression. Some establishments made their presence through crackers as eager spectators lined up for the fare they had come to expect over the years.

Many housing societies demonstrated branding unknowingly. Each society had its own theme, but a pleasing spectacle was that an identical kandeel of the same colour and size adorned at every house window. And an enlarged version of the same kandeelwelcomed the visitors at the entrance of the premises.

Looking back I wonder whether it is possible to bring back those ways. Quite unlikely. Not that it would have been easy in those days to make everyone agree on a uniform festival code. They would be the odd disgruntled types, or some who would have wanted their own way.

Great lessons of branding – of spirit, teamwork, and consistency.

Festivals change their colours, the festivities change their expressions, but branding will always find a way to express itself.

Posted in: Branding, Diwali, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Visible and Invisible Branding

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Hues of Holi

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India’s cultural diversity punctuates the calendar with a variety of festivals. Some of them are celebrated for the welcome break they provide without realizing its significance, and some celebrated with zest and vigour.

Come March, and the colours on the faces will reappear as they welcome the festival of colours: Holi.

This free-for-all carnival of colours has mixed reactions, as this festival provides a license for a little indulgence that may make some uncomfortable.

Like most festivals Holi too has some legends that lend colour to it.

There is a symbolic myth behind Holi and it is celebrated as a festival of love. The Hindu deity Krishna, as a baby, developed his characteristic dark blue hue because the she-demon Putana poisoned him with her breast milk. In his youth, the blue hued Krishna despaired whether the fair-skinned Radha and other girls would like him. Tired of his repeated questions, his mother asks him to approach Radha and colour her face in any colour he wanted. This he does, and Radha and Krishna became a couple. Ever since, the playful colouring of Radha’s face has been commemorated as Holi.

According to another legend, King Hiranyakashipu, the King of Multan had earned a boon that made him virtually indestructible. He grew arrogant, thought he was God, and demanded that everyone worship only him. Hiranyakashipu’s own son, Prahlada, however, disagreed and remained devoted to Lord Vishnu. The infuriated Hiranyakashipu thus subjected Prahlada to cruel punishments, none of which affected the boy or his resolve. Finally, Holika, Prahlada’s evil aunt, wearing a cloak that made her immune to injury from fire, tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. As the tongues of fire soared upwards, the cloak flew from Holika and encased Prahlada. Holika burned, and Prahlada survived. Hiranyakashipu was furious.  Unable to control his anger, he swung his mace which smashed a pillar. There was a tumultuous sound, and Lord Vishnu appeared as Lord Narasimha and killed Hiranyakashipu. The bonfire is a reminder of the symbolic victory of good over evil, of Prahlada over Hiranyakashipu, and of the fire that burned Holika.

The Holi festival, Phalgun, has further cultural significance, most prominently, it celebrates the beginning of spring. In 17th century literature it was identified as a festival that celebrated agriculture, commemorated good spring harvests, and the fertile land. People believed it was a time to enjoy spring’s abundant colours as they bid farewell to winter.

It is also a festive day to cleanse oneself: to end and rid oneself of past errors, to end conflicts by meeting others, a day to forget and forgive. People reset and renew ruptured relationships, end conflicts and rid themselves of the accumulated emotional impurities from the past.

Holi also marks the start of spring, and for many the start of the New Year.

Posted in: Brand News, Branding, Celebrations, Festival, Festivals, India

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Diwali – Day Two

The Five Days of Diwali Celebrations

Diwali is the Indian festival that brings a series of festivals with it. One after another, we get a chance to celebrate five ceremonious occasions.

Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance. The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali, and ends two days thereafter.

Diwali – Day One

Day Two          

The second day of Diwali is called ‘Narak Chaturdashi’, which is popularly known as ‘Chhoti Diwali’.

One famous story behind the celebrations of Diwali is about the demon king Narakasur, who was ruler of Pragjyotishpur, a province to the South of Nepal. During a war, he defeated Lord Indra and snatched away the magnificent earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi, who was not only the ruler of Suraloka, but also a relative of Lord Krishna’s wife – Satyabhama. Narakasur also imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of Gods and saints in his harem. A day before Diwali, Lord Krishna killed Narakasur, released the jailed daughters and restored the precious earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi.

On second day, people take bath before sunrise, anoint themselves with oil and ‘Ubtan’, a scrub made up of gram flour and fragrant powders. A general custom followed during the second day of Diwali is to burst crackers. People illuminate their homes with diya, as to welcome the set the mood for celebrations in the following day.

Day Three Story follows…..

Posted in: Diwali, Festival, Festivals, India

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Teachers Everywhere

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Festivals come once in a year but festivities are round the year.

Teachers Day comes once a year but teachers are with you, throughout the year.

Is learning the essence of life?

Not to everyone.

There are some who believe, and rightly so, that action is all that matters. Learning is the fuel, action is what puts it into motion.

There are others who have a cordial relationship with learning. They open their doors to learning once in a while- to let in some guests who are otherwise unwelcome generally.

And there are others who consider learning as an intruder and keep their senses on full alert to thwart any attempts from this unwanted intrusion in their zone of comfort.

To each his own. And we can rarely find fault with the different approaches. After all each of us has a right to decide how we wish to lead our lives, our priorities, our interests, grow, or evolve.

Gautam Buddha too was living in a blissful state of ignorance, in the lap of luxury, till he decided to explore and discover himself. This reveals two things – one, you can change course in life at any time, and two, it’s never too late.

Is learning self-realisation? Is it education? Is it discovery?

Does learning happen, or is it delivered by a teacher?

Can one learn without a teacher?

What role does a teacher have?

Teachers are not labelled. They may not necessarily be human. They may not be physically present. You can learn from a story, an anecdote, an observation, a thought.

You can stay untouched though surrounded by teachers, and you can learn despite the absence of teachers. The essence of learning is not what is being taught, but what is being learnt. And for that it is not the teacher in front of you, but the learner in you that seeks the teacher.

For those who seek teachers, they keep looking. For those who seek learning – teachers are everywhere.

Posted in: Celebrations, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Work Culture

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