God-damned Vessels

“It’s a vessel”, the voice at the other end of the transatlantic call said.
It was a south indian acquaintance of mine. I was on my way back to the US and he wanted me to carry something for him. He had seemed a bit embarrassed to ask and the revelation had come about after some needless hemming and hawing.
“What vessel?” I asked.
“A pressure cooker vessel.”
“Dude, I’m sorry, I don’t have space to carry a vessel”.
“No it’s very small. It’ll just slip into a corner somewhere.”
“Um, how big is it?”
“About one inch by one inch”
I was a bit puzzled, and fast losing patience.
“Are you sure? What do you use it for?”
“For a pressure cooker”
“I know that”, I said, annoyed. “I know the damn thing is a pressure cooker vessel, so it has to be used for a pressure cooker! What the hell do you cook in it?”
“You don’t cook anything in it”
It was his turn to be exasperated.
“It’s a vessel! Vessel Vessel Vessel!! It goes on top. It’s heavy. The steam lifts it up. After the vessel blows thrice, the rice is done… steam engines have vessels.. some people can vessel tunes!”

Anyway, in honor of my dear mallu friend’s pressure cooker vessel, and having been reminded of 80’s television in India by another blogger, with her post about Mr. Yogi, here are three pressure cooker advertisements from the 80’s, in ascending order of my liking.

3. At third place is the Marlex pressure cooker ad. This was a fifteen second jingle that was usually repeated twice to fit the 30 second advertisement slots that were available on DD. The ad consisted of a pic of a typical 80’s Indian housewife-type (think Lalitaji from the Surf advertisements). She would be holding the cooker. A couple of nondescript food items were on one side, magically suspended in mid air. No, really. It was a magical cooker.

At the top it said “Marlex Pressure Cookers”. At the bottom it said, “ISI approved”, with a funny looking ISI logo. The jingle went something like:

“Marlex Pressure Cooker, khana jaldi pakaaye kaisi seetee bajaaye. Marlex. Marlex Pressure cooker”. Repeat.

Translation: Marlex pressure cooker, cooks curry in a hurry, blows vessel don’t worry. Marlex. Marlex Pressure Cooker.

Heh heh. *Looks around sheepishly*. Anyway, it was the simplicity of the ad that made it so perfect. To this day, I can vessel the tune.

2. Hawkins’ Pressure Cookers also had an ad that relied primarily on a jingle to carry it through. There was some screen based action (if anything done by Neena Gupta on screen can be called that). The jingle went something like:

Hawkins ki seetee baji, khushboo hi khushboo udee, mazedaar lazaddaar khana hai taiyaar. Murg Musallum, Mutter Pulao, Maa ki daal, this is the part that i randomly hum, Dum Alooooo!!”

Translation: On second thought, no translation. Managing expectations and all that.
Update: See Megha’s comment for the entire thing.

1. But of course the most notable pressure cooker ad was for Prestige pressure cookers. Husband and wife enter store, husband looking slightly diffident. This was a theme used a lot in Condom ads in that era. I have no idea why they applied it here. Or maybe i do.

Throughout the ad, the wife stands around looking dumbly. Maybe they did not even show her in the ad. But no, we shall not go into gender biases and such-like.

Husband: Pressure Cooker Khareedna hai.
Shop-guy: (who for some reason, looked a lot like the shopkeeper from the Lalitaji advertisement.) Woh to theek hai. Par pehle yeh bataaiye, ki aap apni biwi se kitna pyaar karte hai.
H: Kya matlab hai aap ka?
S-G: Matlab hai, Matlab hai. Agar aap inhe pyaar nahin karte hai, to koi bhi pressure cooker chal jaayega. Magar aap agar inse pyaar karte hai, to aapko Prestige Pressure Cooker khareedna chahiye.

Husband pyaar-se dekhofies biwi.

H: To Prestige hi dijiye.
S-G: Jo biwi se kare pyaar, woh prestige se kaise karey in car?

Okay, so question: What is the moral of this story? It is this..

What to do? We are like that only!


10 Responses to “God-damned Vessels”

  1. Megha Says:

    Lovely artwork. Brought back memories of the sausage contraption.

    And ugh and groan. At the last one. By the ay, we shall be happy to educate you on the Hawkins ad, seeing as we sing it perfectly even today, with complete Neena Gupta type acting and wide-eyed expressions (they should allow voice-podcasty-type comments on these things, hmm) —

    Hawkins ki seetee baji,
    khushboo hi khushboo udee,
    mazedaar, lazzedaar,
    khaana hai tayyaar,
    haan haan, khaana hai tayyaar
    murg masallam, tomato soup,
    mutter pulao, maa ki daal,
    kheer aur dum alooooo!

    (crescendo of drums)

    har vyanjan swadisht banaaye
    minuton mein jhatpat pakaaye
    Hawkins, Hawkins, Haaawkins Preshar Cookarr!

    (switch to male voice – Ameen Sayani, I believe)

    vishvasneeya Hawkins,
    awwal quality ka preshar cookar
    bachat kare, barson chale
    ding dong!

    Phew. I am so proud. Beg pardon for long comment. What to do? We are like this only.

  2. Heh Heh Says:

    Gracias, Gracias.
    thou art goddess.

  3. Falstaff Says:

    Hmmm..interesting. Wasn’t there also this ad a little later on for this thing called Prestige Pressure Pan – something about ‘Phek do ye degchi, ye frying pan; inse naataa todo; Prestige Pressure Pan, isse naataa jodo” accompanied by picture of said pressure pan falling magically from heaven and being caught by grateful housewife who was primarily happy not to have it drop on her toes? If memory serves, there was a mailman or something who played a role in it too and the line about ‘biwi se kare pyaar’ returned, except that it always seemed to me that it was the mailman who was karo-ing pyaar to your biwi, not you yourself.

    My apologies if I’ve got this completely wrong (more for Megha than you – her recall of stuff like this is, well, SCARY) – just some vague memories from the time when I would actually condescend to watch television.

  4. Heh Heh Says:

    falstaff: i think your recollection is mostly accurate, except that you missed out the kadhai in the ‘phek do’ bit. i believe the postman was catching the stuff that was being thrown. but that ad had pornographic ‘the mailman visits’ type connotations. or maybe i see p04N everywhere.

  5. Brown Magic Says:

    damnit – falstaff beat me to mentioning my favorite- phek do yeh begchi ad – though i never knew what the hell a begchi was but the frustration with which that woman threw it aside was awesome.

  6. Megha Says:

    Falstaff: Much though you probably hate to admit it, you do remember it correctly, except for the ‘kadhai’ bit that HH mentions. The line that followed went – Presteege preshar payn, fry kare, deep fry kare, mumble-mumble pakaai kare. (Pakaai? Something to do with shallow-frying, I think.)

    The pressure pan that descended from the heavens had a blinding white glow to it, much like the clothes washed with Super Rin did in those days. I won’t sing the Rin ad now, I promise.

  7. Ash Says:

    Brown Magic, dekchi is a word for a roundish vessel with a brim … we used to use it mainly for boiling milk.

    And wasn’t there a more recent ad with that song …chandan sa badan …with a pretty housewife, but apparently referring to the cooker ?!! More p04n connotations for you 🙂

  8. Vetrimagal Says:

    Now a dyas MDH Degi Mirach is having a ball game with catchy jingle and a big moush. Not to be missed.:-)

  9. Heh Heh Says:

    Ah, the MDH ad has been around for a long time now. Leads one to ask the fundamental question: Degi to kya degi, aur kab degi?

  10. tharunya Says:

    Too many fun blogs. Danger of overdose.
    Thank you for the aching guts.

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