For many years, I used to think that "bottled water" was a scam.
(Maybe it still is. Who knows. If they can do fodder, 2G, 3G , games, and telecom, water should be child's play. In case it happens, remember you read it here first....).
As late as 1994, I remember going on a train trip to the northeast, and being amazed at folks going haywire stocking up on "Bisleri' under different names. We still lived in an era of old special water containers (wrapped in green felt), used in train trips, and there used to be a bit of an excitement, getting off at various stops and running to fill the water, with one eye on a train that might suddenly leave without you.
I mean, I drank tap water, boiled and cooled tap water, and sometimes filtered tap water at various points in my life, both in India and abroad. And despite the availability now, of brand names, that make you think of the Himalayas, and melted ice water, I still remain faithful to the tap. Assorted short term visitors from abroad clutch their Bisleris, and these days it doesn't bother me so much. And it's good that water is supposed to be , as they made us learn in school, tasteless, colorless and odorless. That's why the fancy name marketing......
But what does bother me is when this business of "marketing" natural stuff, is taken to ridiculous levels.
Some lady in Germany, has got cows to pass gas, and bottled that smell in a can. She sells it as Cow Fart, and some folks from very dense urban areas are paying like 5 British Pounds or US$9, PER CAN, to enjoy the "pleasure.
Apparently, those who have shifted to the cities in Germany, often crave for the smell of wet straw, barns, and intoxicating air in the vicinity of a constantly chewing herd of cattle.
They buy this can, remove some paper on top, stick their nose in, and open the can. The smell apparently transports you to an organic heaven. And you can order these cans online, saving you from polluting the air with Mercedes and Bmw laced exhausts. Carbon Credits and all that.
I see an immense opportunity for India here. In fact I can foresee a future where Germany will outsource this to us, since it will then cost them , maybe 1 British pound (including taxes), given the unlimited resources that we have in this field.
You see, Indian cows mostly eat vegetarian stuff, lots of green leafy stuff, mixed with straw and so on. German and Western cows, are offered meat. Digestion chemistry indicates, that Indian cows have to chew more, mix more saliva for a longer time in their food, and have better digestion, causing less methane gas to exit as a fart. Western cows have huge amounts of methane being exhaled. This methane is a contributor to global warming.
Our esteemed Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh ought to be delighted with this industry outsourcing to India.
Besides , for the real entrepreneurs, the sky is the limit as far as marketing goes.
You could export Mango blossom Cow Fart, where the cows have fed in pastures in the coastal mango belt of Maharashtra, and naturally the soil will have special properties. Maybe something called Areca Cow Fart, sourced from cows wandering for food in the areca nut plantations. A special premium version meant for rich German ex-farmers could be sourced from tobacco fields on the Maharashtra Karnataka border, and this could be marketed as Gutka Fart. And you could also market a limited edition version of what could be the Nasik Onion Fart, now that onions are cheaper and probably lying around everywhere for the cows to feed on.
(Of course, Mumbai cows have been known to eat plastic bags, along with leafy stuff and food inside, as they scavenge around. So for the ordinary public, that keeps track of expenditures , they might even try introducing a cheap version of something called a Poly Mer Fart....)
The western suburb of Goregaon in Mumbai , in its infancy, was home to a huge number of cattle sheds, some of which you can still see, as you go by in a bus. A lot of milkmen , in the earlier days, would cycle with milk cans to deliver milk from these sheds every day. Consequently, and notwithstanding the real estate booms and cowshed decimation happening these days, it stands to reason that the Goregaon soil probably has a special flavor, if one might call it that.
And so it is not impossible, that the next rage in Cow Fart cans would be a special royal premium designer range, consisting of smells like Petrol Dung, Oil of Straw, U R(e)ine (reine = queen in German ?) Whiff, Dung Fire, Cement Gas, Concrete Promises etc etc.
While we are aware of the importance of cows to India, it may not be out of place to ponder over what other smells might be marketed, given that so many of our people now inhabit the western world, and might be desperately looking for these , in a terribly sanitary First world.
Like the platform smell of a newly cleaned and washed train, waiting for passengers at Mumbai's CST station.
Like the smell of drainage, sewage and destroyed mangroves between Bandra and Mahim stations of the suburban Western Railway.
Like the smell of pungent potato vadas being fried at a roadside vendor at Flora Fountain.
Like the smell of the sea and the fish at Versova.
Like the smell of Coriander, Cumin , Cinnamon, Cloves masalas being ground, as you pass by the small factories outside Kanjurmarg suburban station on the Central railway.
Like the smell of frying Ginger and Garlic when someone is cooking Biryani for Sunday lunch....
Like the smell of jasmines, in the evening at the flower market in Matunga....
And the smell of a Puja in temple, replete with roses, mogras, jasmines, camphor, incense, ghee, and milk
The smell of burning crackers at Divali
The smell of milk boiling over and cascading on to the metal stove surface
And of course, the smell of ripening mangoes, laid out on a shelf....
But I digress. What were we talking about ? Cow Fart Aroma ?
I hear one of the political parties is unionizing the cows, and they will be going in a delegation to Delhi, to sit in protest outside Parliament.
Of green areas for them. .......