Long Live Vada Pav!

""What Makes Mumbai so special? Though every state of India boasts of leaders , in Mumbai it seems leaders are available for the asking? Story of more supply than demand, is it? The general public is smart and go about their normal chores in day to day life come, what may!

I am not worried about the street thugs, or the small time hoodlums who mushroomed in the city once, some rapidly blossomed into most wanted gangsters with more than a dozen of criminal charges, and then were systematically eliminated by the encounter specialists of yore! But, the new found leaders try and apply the divide and rule policy, be it at the political arena or within the entertainment industry, manufacturing, service industry.

It is nobody’s mistake though, just the country’s new awakening and the commercial capital is trying to sound it on other weaklings?could be from other southern states or northern states.

The issue is not pertaining to any great threat factor, but again not a small thing of development too! As the Sena has broken up, there is MNS which was carved out of it, and both parties are having ideologies which are somewhat same, but the fight is carried to the street. Well, all said and done, it is understood, but Mumbaikar’s favourite staple food the poor old ‘vada pav’ coming under attack by these two parties are a standing joke.

First MNS supremo Raj talked about branding the Vada Pav and bringing all the vendors under one umbrella. Then, last heard was Udhav wants to brand it as ‘Shiv’ vada pav. It got the goat of none other than the Depy. Chief Minister Mr. R.R. Patil itself. He said to Name the vada pav  on Udhav himself. Now, I have a question. How about the cutting chai? Why cant we brand it and sell it. It is on the lines of ‘Starbucks’ coffee, the CCD joints. A cutting chai joint!

With snacks starting from of course vada pav and bhajia, dal wada and many other oily preparations, this way we will have consumers relishing their cuppa in style. The worst hit will be policewallahs. Now, he and the BMC guys cannot collect haftas. Because the stall owners are direct taxpayers to the government!

Hey, now, the pirated DVD, VCD guys also can brand them as walking planet stores. Walking, because they shift their places according to the morning traffic and evening traffic.

These developments should not leave Bollywood behind! Definitely not! Shahrukh, Amir, Kareena, Deepika & Ranbir will rush to endorse their favourite vada pavs and cutting chais! Then no wonder, if a Gujaratiben will sell dhoklas, khari other namkeens; more over the two Goan ladies selling their ‘sorpotels, pork sausages, pork pickles outside the Mazgaon church can also jump into the fray.

Heavy branding exercise will now touch upon the Bandra-Kurla complex area Pav Bhajiwala, Nariman Point annachi who sells his dosas, idlis and also the bhelpuriwala bhaiyaas around Malad, Lokhandwala and Jhaveri bazaar. A marathon drives for branding! Howzzat?

Howzzat reminds me about the BCCI’s new spectacle.The IPL matches. They have taken the cricket crazy nation by storm. so to say! Vijay Mallya after long time in his life will be a looser coz his team is battered and bruised, tattered and butchered by every other team. It reminds me about the old Bangladesh’s team in all the world cups from 1996 till 2007.Not to forget the Sri Lankan team in 1987(reliance cup) the only match they had won was with Zimbabwe!

Shahrukh and Preity Zinta embracing the cricketers and dancing , having a rollicking time on the stands and also jumping in ecstasy  near the ground reminds me of nautanki in remote villages in Muzzafarnagar or Jaunpur. The stars could have conducted themselves in a dignified manner. Why do they have to resort to such gimmicks? This dramebaazi will not get their teams to win any matches. Knight Riders is virtually out. It will leave Shahrukh to be a pale rider!

Shoaib Akhtar showed his magic in only one match. Then next match he bowled only 2 overs and vanished into the dressing room. Very next match he was conspicuous by his  own absence! Omigosh! Over publicity can kill you. A Pakistani newspaper ‘The Nation’ reportedly cooked up a story of syringes found in Shoaib’s luggage, which the customs Collector from Lahore has reportedly termed it as rubbish! Dope test on Warne was successful but, others’ tests which were done clandestinely have not been made public by IPL authorities. Whats cooking? Lalit Modi? Anyways, truth will prevail!

Sanath Jayasuriya’s blitzkrieg and Sachin’s come back has made the Mumbai Indians a formidable team. If only the political parties would have woken up in Mumbai say, a good two months earlier, then  we could have had product sampling of Vada Pavs and cutting chais at the stadiums. And , more so in style!!

Imagine a Glen McGrath having a Vada pav and then running into bowl and clean bowling the opponent. A perfect TV commercial! Kumble, Warne bowling a googly and a flipper respectively and getting their opponents and exclaiming loudly with Vada pav and cutting chai in their hands. ‘Vada pav da jawab nahin!’ Also, not to forget Vinod Kambli, who is free, virtually doing nothing worthwhile now a days! He will endorse the brand free of charge. Just will barter with 2 dozen vada pavs per day. With LP beer they taste good! Isnt it?

The stadiums would have had the vada pav association as sponsors and would have had the A shaped boards along the boundary ropes filled with advertisements. Mallya will have Shilpa eat vada pavs in his ‘Romanov’ vodka ads, will make ‘Yana Gupta’ eat the same in his ‘Kingfisher’ ads.

He will leave no stone unturned going for joint promotion of brand vada pav with his booze brands. He will get Saif, Dhoni, Ricky Ponting, Harbhjan , Yuvraj all of them fight tooth and nail for the vada pavs in his next commercial for ‘ Royal stag’ whisky.

He will ensure all the kingfisher flights, Air Deccan flights serve vada pav and cutting chai on board. Ditto for ‘Go Air’. Preity and Ness Wadia will ensure that. In his Air Hostess and Cabin crew selection criteria, a new subject of Vada pav will be incorporated. The incumbents may need to eat vada pavs to establish that they are joining an Airline of repute and are ready to serve the masses.

Imagine the president of vad pav vendors association walking out in style during the awards presentation ceremony and handing out the man of the match awards, by rubbing shoulders with none other than the likes of Mukesh Ambani, Lalit Modi, Ramiz Raza, other dignitaries! It’s really a dream come true for the son of the soil, indeed!

How can we leave the commentators’ duo, our very own sons of the soil Gavsakar and Ravi Shashtri. They can promote the brands between the interludes. Also, if Irfan pathan clean bowled an opponent, Shashtri can quip in his uncharacteristic style ‘this is the strength and stamina a vada pav gives, eat vada pav,be stronger. Irfan has added an extra  yard to his pace, no wonder vada pav has given him the strength to send the opponents stumps cart wheeling’!voila!

Gavaskar will never hesitate to promote the cutting chai. As Sachin or Ganguli, Sanath hit a sixer, he will snatch the mike and roar ‘See the strength a cutting chai gives to the batsman. The ball has disappeared on to the pandal a good 126 mts away. The umpires will be tired fetching old balls again and again’! Oh, what publicity!

All said and done, branding is catching up on every front. So, one will not be surprised if paanwala at the corner will try branding his wares, just in case he can sell his wares at a premium. One ‘Mutchad’ paanwala is already successful in this endeavour at warden Road in Mumbai. He and his associates, brothers sport the moustache once made famous by Amitabh in his movie ‘Sharabhi’. The moustache bearer was our yesteryears comedian ‘Mukri’!

Let us pray that the bid on branding of vada pav by the political parties be successful as it is a livelihood for many a Maharashtrian Youngsters. The branded ‘Jumbo Vada Pav’  by Gupta couple, both management Graduates is successful so as ‘Goli’ vada pav by some one else. We all at some stage or other must have eaten the vada pav at railway canteens or any other places. Vada pav and cutting chai is synonymous with the culture of Mumbai. Here’s wishing ‘Long Live Vada Pav’!

Author: Donald DSilva- Mumbai