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From Fido Dido to Mirinda Trio

Remember Fido Dido used to appear in Cold Drink advertisements. Blank eyed, wooden faced urchin with a shabby, loose knicker and Shirt. He appeared totally anaesthetic to any human emotion or elation, an unnecessary appendage of the ground on which he stood…. lost and irrelevant.

Suddenly, a real beautiful damsel used to appear on TV screen, trying to attract fido Dido’s attention. A perfectly humane creature with humane tenderness and invitation in her eyes. She was capable of stirring any human heart, or any human being would have at least, reciprocated the tenderness by similar gestures. It is basically human to receive and react to the emotions. But Fido Dido is unmoved eyes looking nowhere, face displaying total lack of emotions. Was, he a living thing.

Yes, he was, finally, he gave some proof of it. The beauty came with the cold drink of a particular brand. Suddenly, there was a blink in fido’s eyes, his body became taut with anticipation. The lady offered the drink with same tenderness and of course, titilation. But her efforts appeared to be worked. Fido Dido grabbed the bottle, emptied it in one breath, put it down… and same morose, woodenness again appeared on his face. Fido Dido’s existence is only for grabbing and getting bottles of his favourite cold drink. All human emotions from love to lust do not even touch him.

Have you ever seen a lizard watching the insects near an electric bulb? Its body is tout, tongue flicking and eyes blinking. Fido Dido had similar blink in his eyes before getting the drink. He grabbed the drink with a similar ‘kill’ as the lizard jumped over the insects. And after the drink, he appeared as morose and morbid as the lizard was (after getting its prey). Now, we have Mirinda Trio. Three muscular men go for a bottle of cold drink. They approach towards it as animals of prey approaching their kill. One of them gets it and empties the bottle and the advertisement is over. Had it continued, we would have witnessed that the winner of the bottle had been killed by the other two, and even after the murder, the faces of the other two would have remained emotionless and blank just searching another bottle. We may visualise Fido Dido again. Had it been in his capacity to kill the lady and get the drink, he would have certainly done so. His only interest was cold drink, and not the lady with all her tenderness, emotions even lustiness. This is what advertisement demanded.

Fido Dido and Mirinda Trio represent the mental state of good number of upwardly mobile urban professional as well as money-minting lumpens of urban slums and urbanised villages. With winds of globalisation uprooting us, scope of material achievements has widened tremendously. There is a mad race for fulfilling ‘wants’ and the most successful is the one who can fulfill his or her maximum wants. There is nothing wrong in fulfilling one’s desires and enjoying life. But, some disturbing trends are lying in depth. First, human beings and commodities are being put in the same inventory of ‘want’. Enjoying consumer is, of course, separated from the ‘commodity, including human commodity.

Second, everything required for fulfilling the want can be used a inputs – parents, friends, relations, faith of the one and weakness of the others. Parents can not be changed (how stupid) but their identity can be used or concealed, as the case may be. But friendship can be targeted in terms of utility. This has given the rise to manage culture or ‘mil to lein’ (let us meet and humor the person who can be a potential help) phenomenon.
More disturbing trend is that the pursuit of want is done in a cold-blooded manner with ‘killer instinct’ of a lizard, as mentioned earlier. Killing can be on many planes – Fido Dido can kill the tender lady, showering all love on him. Mirinda Duo can kill the third person. Urbanised lumpens are not behind. In Delhi, some lumpen staff members of local blue line bus service, killed a young boy in his early tewenties during their routine scuffle with passengers and other lumpens like them. After the murder, one staffer gave his attention to the jeans the victim was wearing. He just unbuttoned and took it for himself.

But there are subtle modes of murders also. In pursuit of one’s wants, one can kill others sentiments, means of living, reputation, faith; one can kill the nuances of civic sense and decent behavior. One can break the queue unabashedly and get the work done through some connection or even with his/her smartness and confidence (to break the queue and rules in the presence of mute spectators).

Of course, bad things used to happen in all times. People used to work with ulterior motives. Avarice, revenge, lust are all but human. But being human involves two important factors. First, a human wrong-doer is aware that he or she is doing something wrong. One may be Angulimal or Lady Macbeth, but after anything wrong, his or her soul pricks. This prick of conscience is a great human strength. Awareness generates repentance, repentance opens the way for divine mercy or change of heart. This is the way of hope, and not of despair, to every human wrong doer. Mythology says that despair is the most deadly of seven deadly sins. All repentants can hope but if a person is not aware that he has done something wrong, he cannot repent. Satan is an avowed enemy of God. He is unaware that his mission is ungodly, hence, he cannot repent. Therefore, Satan cannot hope God’s mercy. He is eternally despaired, eternally condemned. The pricking of conscience is the sign of hope. It is the succour for a wrong doer as well as for the society. The problem with Fido Didos, Mirinda Trios, YUPPIES and lumpens is that they have lost the human sensibilities. They are emotionally anaesthised. These fellows have become cold blooded inhumans. Their emotions have been modified so when they ‘kill’ some person or some heart, they remain unaware of it. Their sensibilities have been reduced to their target commodity – from a drink to guy and gal, from a pair of jeans to money and status.

They are incapable of thinking about ethical questions involved. A person can commit murder. But when someone is not at all shocked after murdering somebody to the extent that he can think of removing his pair of jeans, then it is simply inhuman. It means that the killer has lost the human capacity to assess the gravity of murder. Fido Dido would have done similar thing for his drink. Finally, one cannot turn the wheel of time backward we cannot go back to the days of non consumerist bliss. But being human, we should resist everything which alienates, reduces or notifies human qualities.