THE LAST WORD

Dated: January 28, 2015

JIYO PARSI: Long live the stereotype!

The Parsees are feeling ‘wanted’ these days — and in a rather good way. After all, what could be more flattering for a community residing in a country whose biggest problem is overpopulation, actually being encouraged to procreate?

But while there is no doubt about the alarming nature of the problem or the genuine goodwill of fellow countrymen to ‘save the specie’, I am not sure if the Jiyo Parsi print campaign comes anywhere close to realising the true aspect of the beast.

The issue is not so much the ad campaign itself, as the touching faith of its practitioners in advertising’s unique ability to arrest the trend of falling numbers through a series of print ads.

But we must understand that before the argumentative Indian, there was the argumentative Parsee. The notion that this particular specimen’s action, even if it is to save his own skin, can be forced through ‘copywriting’ is a bit naïve and mildly amusing.

Parsees are not dying out because they do not want to cut the umbilical cord with their moms or have no desire to bequeath their Gold Rolex Oysters to their grandchildren.

We are dying because, and this has to be said even if it seems brutal, we are way past the concept of ‘critical mass’. There are just not enough of us left who like each other enough to marry within the community.

We are dying because almost 100 percent of our young men and women are fanatically independent of spirit and hate the idea of compromise. Girls won’t marry, until they have financial control of their lives and boys aren’t willing to settle until they have a house of their own. In a city like Mumbai, getting a piece of half-decent real estate can take away the best years of your life.

We are dying because our xenophobic masters won’t accept non-Parsee spouses and their kids within the community even if that means sure extinction.

In the end, we are dying because the motivation to ‘save the community’ isn’t half as fierce as making the most of what you are at an individual level.

Now, which ad campaign in the world can address these complications?

So…

…what does the poor creative person do except draw upon age-old stereotypes and hope to Lord Ahuramazda that that peculiar brand of bawa humour masks these complications enough for no one to even take notice of it!

CB

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