Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baby Talk

The recent Kerala election campaign led to some sniping between Rahul Gandhi and the Kerala Chief Minister Achutanandan. Rahul Gandhi indirectly indicated that the CM was an old man . The CM in turn called him an Amul Baby. Shashi Tharoor, ever ready to tweet said there was nothing insulting in the CM's remark and Amul Babies are healthy and focussed.

The Kerala CM has moved on with times. He probably would have been more familiar with the Murphy Radio baby. A cute healthy baby, with his finger on the lower lip. Their baby calendars were always in big demand. And generally found a place in the room of an expectant mother.

Babies, like Rahul Gandhi, nowadays are a pampered lot. And corporates have realised that parents love to indulge in their new bundle of joy. Exclusive stores for infants have surfaced. Kiddy things are no longer confined to a small corner of a departmental store.

Things have obviously changed. Earlier buying anything new for the baby was unheard of. And considered inauspicious. Grandmothers were quick to get into action mode as soon as they were informed about the pending arrival of the baby. Well worn sarees and dhotis were acquired from close relatives and friends, cut into squares and rectangles and painstakingly hand stitched to form blankets, frocks and jablas for the baby. They were the only things considered suitable for the soft and sensitive skin of the newborn.

Walking in to buy a gift for a young child I was amazed to see what was being stocked in these stores. Special baby furniture, baby toys, baby clothing, fancy prams, car seats, baby feeding spoons…. So many choices. And tiny clothes that are at least three times more expensive than adult clothing.

New borns and their mothers are now smartly dressed. And ready for visitors. The old sarees are of no use. And grandparents have turned hip. And have no time to make handmade baby clothes. Most times they are flying to different continents to take care of their young wards. And old jeans definitely would not make soft baby clothing.

I have digressed from the not so friendly banter of the Kerala CM and Rahul Gandhi. But it is a matter of Old vs New. We will know shortly which will triumph in this case.

In the meanwhile Amul cashed in on the moment with this ad..


  1. I enjoyed reading and reminded of my younger days when many nephews and nieces were born.My mom wld not permit putting a new shirt or frock till the purificatory ceremony(punyahavachanam) is over after a week or ten days.There were no baby gifts as is obtaining today.Visitors just placed small currency notes of two or three rupees in baby's hands.An occasional Johnsons baby powder was received as gift.Things hv undergone seachange since then.

  2. These Amul guys are so smart! They really know how to...err...milk a situation to its fullest!

  3. yayyyy AMUL got freee advertising and then to cash on it
    WHAT AN IDEA jiiii :)

    yes true tere is a range of Baby things you can get anything clothes- furniture-toys-food anything


  4. @KP - Very true. Johnson baby powder was a welcome gift.
    @ Deepa - :-) - good one!
    @Bikramjit - Amul really got good publicity.

  5. Oh yes, there is such a variety to choose from nowadays while buying things for a baby. Babies- or rather their parents- are really lucky!

    As regards RG- it seems very funny to hear everyone referring to a forty year old person as a baby! :)

  6. Rahul Gandhi calling Achuthanandan old and the age of Karunanidhi with whom his party has got alliance is 84 years old!

    Yes, as Manju said, wonder why people still refer to a 40 year old as a baby or even young man...funny!

    The amul ad is superb! They are pioneers in cashing in on these types of situations!

    My maama's house had this calendar of a Murphy baby, without Asha Parekh's picture! He had Murphy radio too!

    The new mothers can be stylish now, because of the baby diapers, I think. My sons too wore other babies' old clothes for the first month and no pictures for the first year! My friend took some pictures when my son was 8 months old and no one knew about it for a long time!

    Enjoyed reading this post, Radha.

  7. hello! I blog-hopped and I am so glad I did. what brought me here, first, was the title - night owl. I am one, and that is magnetic in itself :)
    I have never heard of this 'murphy radio'. our generation babies are always Johnson's babies :)
    It is funny how everybody coddles Rahul gandhi. It is a pity his more sensible sister did not enter politics. I have always felt she had more sound character than him.
    I do not have kids yet, but I can relate to what you have said. my earliest memories were the hand stitched blankets, lots and lots of castor oil and big black dots to ward off the evil eye. by the time my nephews arrived, around 10-12 years ago, all these were replaced. I had so much fun shopping for them!
    Just last week I went to buy a gift for a friend's baby shower, and was amazed at the variety in the shops. and the prices!! my goodness.
    loved reading your posts. I will be back for more!

  8. I think that ad is a good reply to Achuthanandan.They should have mentioned it is suitable for even demented old men!

  9. @Manju - I know RG is hardly a baby. But sometimes blabbers like one.
    @Sandhya - That is why the black dot to prevent the effect of the evil eye.
    @Rohini - Thank you. I hopped over to your blog and saw the owl connection!
    @Dr Anthony - :-)

  10. Amul brand value must have gone up few hundred times.

  11. I remember how my mother and my grandmother made of cloths just like you have said... That was so loving, so close to the heart... You can spend millions but the love that comes from making something for the little one is unmatched...

  12. Radha, as a new grandmother I am into the world of babies once more.
    i think we keep the traditions that are possible and we like and dump the rest.
    My grandson is swaddled in napkins made from old sheets and sarees . Only at night do we use diapers so he sleeps better in the cold.
    And, everyone around did advise against keeping things ready, a tough call when you are in the hospital suddenly and family is far away.In today's nuclear families, things have to change.
    I like the way you meander around 'babies'from Rahul to napkins to ads :-)


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