Colours and intriguing shape are one of the most effective marketing tools ever. Had I not seen the white purple bottle shaped like a saline pouch with my buddy I would have never tasted the content inside it. How many times have I fallen prey to looks? If I count both figuratively and literally the answer would be countless times both in materialist and personal choices.
The first time I saw advertisement of instant soup years back, I had to buy it and it was a terrible experience. I happily copied the actions of Anime characters and placed the bowl on plates and sat with folded legs to sip my soup. And the soup tasted horrible. But when it comes down to my elder sibling, she is a recurring victim of marketing strategies. Every time she would order some cold drinks for us to drink, they would always come with hot spices. Sometimes chilli made cameo too.
But what made me pick up the mysterious drink sitting inside the refrigerator with other colourful drinks far cheaper then it. The answer is simple induced curiosity by vast capitalist market. There stood lassi, chocolate-milk, mango drinks. But my buddy and I we both had to go for that white purple pack with the name of a mysterious fruit Kokum.
Yes we had never heard or saw this fruit before and the very name intrigued us.
Here are two of my buddies sitting on the concrete boundaries opposite to the food mart. I decide to get my drink of Kokum first. By the time I open my seal and sip it the taller of the two is up to throw his paper plates and looks at me with full curiosity. The brave I took the first sip. Its bitter sweet and smelled like cranberry but the sour aftertaste like grape juice poked my head. Have I seen cranberry? No, I have only eaten cookies and drink made in that flavour. Now real cranberry might be different from the marketed flavour similarly like the fate of infamous strawberry. I mean real strawberry has no relation to the flavour they sell in ice cream and cakes.
Okay back to kokum, this kokum on my tongue is strange and different. By four or five sips I could imagine the drink to be a shade or three darker from than grape juice. I hand over my erected saline shaped bottle to my buddy who sips it keeping his expressions intact. I get encouraged when two minutes later he comes out with his own kokum pack. We become kokum brothers in that instant.
By the time he is finished with the drink; our personal jokes with kokum were already in elementary school. We checked the bottom of the pack to find the words :- Now you got to bottom of this. The words made us break into laughter. I was still sipping my kokum slowly and the challenge to seal back the empty pack with air came back from my buddy. I won’t lie I could clearly see the grade two trick to hand empty bottle to a classmate was visible in his sharp eyes. So he did fifteen minutes later.
We read the about ingredients with concentration that only knocked our foreheads when question paper was an hour away. The pack promised no bio-engineered product and we went to look for the place of manufacture. That was a mystery to us till late evening.
By the end of the day I completed my challenge, we literally carved buttocks at the bottom of the pack, my buddy agreed to my idea of using the pack as water bottle as well. Though each of us held a smart phone in our hand we were wrapped in the mystery of kokum. A classmate suggested kokum was the juice of dried tamarind. Yet both of us stuck to, our speculative theory of Kokum being a berry. We made a vast journey in speculation from grapes to berry.
Finally the mystery of kokum got revealed with help of the smart phone when Google presented the images on our large screens. Had I been offered kokum on a plate in real life, I swear I would never taste it in its original face.
Now that’s what marketing does, it sells you things which would not appeal to us in their true form but packed, polished and priced version. I think that sums up, Hyperrealism Baudrillard talked about.
At the end of my pack it asked the drinkers to shake hands. My buddy and I we shook hands and we will keep cracking kokum jokes till the final semesters. Yes I have a premonition.
P.S- this is what actual Kokum looks like, but like the pack promised we did create memories.
thanking you for bear with me