Airtel’s (now slightly old) new ad campaign says har ek friend zaroori hota hai. Every friend is important. Or every friend holds some place in one’s life. Every friend is special, indispensable. It attempts to sell talk-time to a generation that lives in college canteens in groups on kulhads of chai; bunks classes to smoke pot in huddles or watch movies in single file rows; has survived on watching re-runs of ‘The One Where…’ episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and absorbed more life lessons from those than any classroom lecture. The day it was launched, the video went viral on Youtube and Facebook and every few seconds, somebody or the other would post a new status message getting all soppy and emotional about dosti and what all their friends meant to them, as if it had JUST then occurred to them the vital wisdom of this simple statement.
Look at the ad stills at bus stops – the lazy friend, the bookish friend, the kanjoos friend, the adventurous friend…and it goes on. But here are some they totally…forgot (is the word)… to include i guess:
The Study-Notes Friend : Come February-March and I suddenly find there’s an increase in the number of people willing to buy me coffee or wanting to talk with me or simply just beaming at me from across the room. Of course, the fact that I record notes like a dictaphone has nothing with this, it’s just the spring air, yaar.
The I’m-Never-Going-To-Pay-You-Back Friend : Soo, you lent her some money one beautiful morning, when she needed it and you still thought she wasn’t one of ‘those’. But turns out….abhi toh pocket money nai aayi yar, my boyfriend dumped me yar, i lost my phone, my wallet, FIVE HUNDDDRUD bucks yaaaarrr….yaaaaarrrr, *puppy face*, kal pakka haan!
The Bottomless Void Friend : Who basically measures the amount he/she loves you by the ounces you put into him/her (oh well, you might as well say IT!). Feed them, nurture them, water them (with beer and whatnot) and IT shall be yours lovingly forever (till your resources for such fruitful enterprise run out). Even Marley knows where his loyalties lie, bones or no bones, yaar.
The Vanity-Fair Friend : She will bring you all the gossip and shine her royal light on you, at the price of at least one compliment a day. Or she will do whatever it takes to get all the boys’ attention, all the spotlight so she can radiate the sun into oblivion. Or he will crack witticisms about everything and bring to you the most bizarre, alternative information engineered to blow your mind away and make him cool. And the moment you stop the flow of admiration, he/she will begin to see in you the essence of your office’s dusty furniture. Mein bhi toh sultry hun, yaar!
The Who DAT? Friend : You’re walking down a street and you come across a face you know very well, and you stop, turn and run back to say hi! But the person is so oblivious to a world outside of their own personal haywire orbit that they cannot place you. Orrrrr, they pretend not to place you because you’re just not cool enough to be on their list of acquaintances even! Of course, this comes after they’ve ignored your calls, messages, wall texts, tweets, postcards, inland letters, pink-scented love letters…once your medium of association has expired. Out of sight, out of mind is only fair, afterall i know soo many people, yaar!
The Le Joker Friend : Sinister, like, Heath Ledger in the Dark Knight, this one’s particularly tricky because they’ve got split personalities and many faces. She will be always by your side, you will witness her ups and downs, you will an intrinsic part of her life, glass-shattering, wrist-scratching, self-loathing moments included. But the moment you go home, she will tell the world how you torment her, sabotage her, prey on her, steal from her, mooch from her and basically treat her like she’s the doormat. Sympathy milegi toh boyfriend bhi toh milega, yaar!
Of course, this list goes on. We’d all find some or other ‘friend’ who’s done this or more to us, duped us into believing this is the real thing. OR we might squirm and, if we still have a heart left, admit that we too have not been ‘holier than thou’ and done something awful to some unsuspecting soul, maybe not so wittingly ourselves. So if the bums at Airtel wish us to believe that being nonchalant about it will make it alright, they must know heartbreak and friendships don’t mend easily. And if all they’re trying to do is tell the world to get a grip and be good to your ‘hommies’ too, well, it’s a noble enterprise, but i do think it is a rather lost message in this day and age of short attention spans, shorter memories and big humongous egos blooming at terribly young ages instead. Dosti ho toh aisi yar!