Today, a student from Kanpur narrates to us a horrendous experience, that he had recently, when a close-to-full-page advertisement of Indian Institute of Publicity-Management (IIPM) started growing in size, and became so large that it came out of the newspaper. He has abandoned reading newspapers now, and he tells us why.
Three mornings ago, when Bunty D’Souza woke up, little did he know what surprise his otherwise-monotonous routine had in store for him. Innocent and unaware, he got up when any other college-going, responsible teenager should, on a holiday—at 1 in the morning.
Bunty’s mother, like all other days, brought in the morning tea that Bunty thoroughly relished, teeth unbrushed. “I am pursuing dentistry, final year,” Bunty tells us.
Accompanying the plate of Marie-Old biscuits and the cup-&-saucer on the tray, was the day’s newspaper. One that was going to be the last he ever read.
Bunty opened the newspaper. To his surprise, there was no surprise. Somewhere a war had broken out, somewhere else a woman had been raped off her modesty, elsewhere, an otherwise good-for-nothing minister’s mastermind had been unraveled in the form of a glorious countless-crore scandal and still elsewhere, were news of multi-billion-dollar weddings flashing fetching all eye-balls internationally, even as news of poor farmers and labourers dying to live, in some parts of the globe, continued to be ignored. All in all, “there was nothing new to read,” as Bunty puts it. Just the regular stuff.
But when he turned to page 3 of the damned newspaper, lo, what did he see! A huge advertisement, to say the least, one that was abnormally huge! “It was something like never seen before! In the advertisement could be seen the letters “I.I.P.M” shining bright in a bold blue hue,” Bunty reveals. The ad also carried the picture of a man, he adds. “Or was it a woman?” Bunty seems dubious at this point of our conversation. “The character had long hair tied into a funny pony that made me confuse it for a woman. But then I thought it looked too eerie to be a woman, even an ugly woman, that too one who could appear in newspapers with such over-confidence! A body with a gigantic build, dressed in a boring, un-revealing professional suit, sure, at least, looked manly. The big smile that showed-off his huge ugly teeth apart from the god-knows-for-what pride, further affirmed that it wasn’t a woman. Maybe just a slightly more sophisticated replica of Shrivardhan Trivedi to whose ‘chainn se sona hai to jaag jao‘ Sansani-warnings I sleep every night. But a man, yes,” Bunty confirms. “Arindam Chaudhary, the name.”
As we urge Bunty to give more elaborate details about the prima facie, Bunty gets shivers recalling what he saw. “It was like some nightmare, as if I hadn’t woken up at all that morning!” Bunty blabbers. “Even worse than the previous night’s horrific dream, of Shahnaz Hussain doing a full monty, exclusively for me”—at this point, the sweat bead on his forehead and his shaking voice clearly confirm one thing, it was certainly something horrendous that he saw that morning.
“Like I said, it was a huuuuge ad! That womanly man could be seen in all the hundred corners of that ad. In one pic, he was pointing his (index) finger at me, daring me to do something. Dare to sleep around..!—was it? No no, DARE TO THINK BEYOND…, yeah, that’s right. In some other pic, he was standing with a large group of students who looked like wannabe air-hostesses and models. This I know as the girls of the lot were hot, while the guys looked fair and gay. In yet another pic, he was trying to strike a pose, a thinking pose of sorts. And believe me, he was trying too hard! Probably in one of those studio settings we see in marriages nowadays where all the countless number of relatives, especially aunties, get clicked in exactly the same poses, one elbow resting on a stand and the palm cupping his chin, it made for the perfect wannabe-philosopher-pose one would try for a Facebook display picture. There also were pictures of some Chinese/Malaysian/Japanese/any other tiny-eyed people with the wannabe model/air-hostess lot I just mentioned. These pics were titled as some student exchange programs and the “hot girls-gay boys” lot was that of IIPM students, it revealed. For a second, I even made the error of taking the phrase “student-exchange program too literally!” Bunty winks at us. “For a moment I was even regretting, why on earth didn’t I join this institute that asks people to think beyond the IIMs, but itself carries an abbreviation almost plagiarized from the country’s best B-schools! As if people will get confused and join it instead of an IIM, like the ‘Froooti, Mango Byte, Eclairs, Paypsi’ types of replicas,” Bunty concludes.
“Was it just pictures of him all over that huge ad?” we wonder.
“No no! there was text too, in weird, scary font sizes. Just that the pictures made a little more sense to me. There were some survey results there too, placing their IIPM before the IIMs and FMS. For a moment they even looked believable, till I was reminded of the power of money! By the way, I am running low on pocket-money these days, you know…”
“But what exactly was so scary about the ad, that you decided to simply stop reading newspapers?” an accurate question put up by our reporter.
“The ad was, big, big BIGGG! Its hugeness was par imagination! When I had picked up the newspaper, it was occupying more than three-fourths of the whole page. It was more than just ‘catchy’, cutting the long legs of a Katrina Kaif above it, to less than half (which made for a real unsatisfactory glimpse of her), covering half of Amar Singh’s spectacle glasses and making Manmohan Singh’s turban look more like Omar Abdullah’s topi.
“Just then, something happened—
“The advertisement started growing in size!” Bunty declares with a gasp.
“Slowly slowly, the whole of Amar Singh’s spectacles became invisible, Manmohan Singh’s turban was reduced to the size of a handkerchief he could use to wipe off Soniaji’s feet/nose, and worse, more of Katrina’s bare legs became invisible!! From three-fourths to more and more and more, it continued to grow bigger and bigger. It was as if that pony-tailed man would pop out of it any time and drag me in, and make me stand with the hot-girl lot! Not that I’d mind that, but, I have no plans to get into a certain IIPM!
“It was growing, growing and growing more—the ad. My eyes were about to pop-out, it was then that I knew what ‘ads should fetch eye-balls’ actually meant! Arindam’s smile now looked like a hyena giggling. Very soon the whole page was covered with their huge slogans, declarations and pictures:
DARE TO THINK BEYOND…
ARINDAM, THE MANAGEMENT GURU
WE ARE NO. 1…
IIPM STUDENTS GET FREE LAPTOPS!
IIMs SUCK! WE ROCK!
SEE THIS SURVEY, SEE THAT SURVEY!
SEE WE ARE THE BEST… SAY WE ARE BEST, SAY IT, COME ON JERK, SAY IT!
JOIN IIPM.. JOIN IIPM, JUST JOIN IIPM!!!!”
Bunty gets out-of-control and senses at this point. It takes him many glasses of water to calm him down again.
“I have given up newspapers for life. And I am going to join IIPM once I complete my dentistry.”
“What? IIPM after Dentistry? That’s not possible!”
“It is, it has to be. I can’t live with these nightmares for life. Besides as the management guru himself puts it, dare to think beyond. Nothing is impossible,” Bunty finally quips.
And the reporter leaves with a smile, having gained fresh tips on what business is all about. Dare to think beyond… cross all limits, all pages.