AESTHETICS vs UTILITY


It is my firm belief that advertisements in media are the main culprits in bringing down the cultural and moral values in life notwithstanding their glamorous presentations.

Of late, I have noticed that one of the ads for kitchen electrical appliances (from UK I guess) shown on TV has lovely vases shattering to pieces and an array of their sleek kitchen appliances such as mixer and toaster shown with a copy  saying “Do not accept useless gifts” or words to that effect.

“Man doesn’t live by bread alone” . We human beings are a superior species as compared to animals and birds and we do not spend our time only in eating, sleeping and procreation. We like to see beautiful things, hear beautiful things, create beautiful things and in general surround ourselves with beauty. Nature has given us the capacity to appreciate nature and the creativity to reproduce it.

So, if a bridal couple is gifted a lovely painted vase, it enriches the aesthetic component of their life. Gifting a kitchen gadget to the bride which in any case would have been provided by her parents or would have been bought by themselves later just emphasizes her role as a work horse and her never ending chores in the kitchen.

I am reminded of a joke by a famous wit in Kannada. Those were the days of acute shortage and stringent rationing of kerosene. When someone asked him for a suggestion for a ‘useful’ gift for a couple getting married, he told him to give them a bottle of kerosene. Oh! This obsession of giving something ‘useful’!!!

In my own newly married life, while my mother had seen to it that my kitchen was fully equipped to start a new life, the only things with which I could decorate my drawing room were the ‘useless’ things gifted to me by beauty conscious people_ an inlay- work tray, a Tanjore silver wall plate, a crystal vase which could hold lilies and dahlias, photo frames, albums etc which lasted till we bought our own stuff. Some have even survived our innumerable postings and the buffetings all over the country.

So, I feel aesthetics and utility have their own place in life.  It is wrong to look a gift horse in the mouth and to tell a newly married couple not to accept ‘useless’ gifts. It is highly insensitive to advise them to throw them out in preference to shiny electrical household appliances.

 

Case rests.

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6 thoughts on “AESTHETICS vs UTILITY

  1. Sneha says:

    An interesting anecdote, Vimala and I feel this debate could go on. Obviously, given today’s day and age – this could be seen as practical advise, but like they say ‘Its about how things are said’ and that is what holds significance, in totality. Your write seems like a subtle critique of societal trends and even the media and its way of expressing things. You remind me (and thank you, for doing that) of Alexander Pope, he was a great poet and writer, dramatist who always made tongue in cheek comments about society around. Sure, one is part of it, but has to be different, to stand out. A wonderful write, Vimala. One of your best !
    Kindly give my regards to Mr. Ramu. How’s Ganesh Chaturthi in Bengaluru? 🙂

  2. Sneha, I love the way you comment on my blogs. Yes, there are certain things which irritate me and thank God, I have the wherewithal to express it irrespective of whether people like it or not. Ganesh chaturthi in Bangalore is never the same gala spectacle that it is in your Mumbai.

  3. Hi Vimala!

    Ads are a nuisance, not only in terms of stalling an interesting program that you may be watching on TV, but also otherwise. Take for example the Sensodyne ad where they show the dentist recommending the patient to put a little bit of the paste on his/her sensitive tooth and biting into an ice-cream or such other things which he/she has been avoiding for days because these were irritants to their teeth.

    In no time after applying the paste, you see them hogging a kulfi or an ice-cream and relishing it confirming the quick remedial value, usefulness and reliability of the product.

    I have been suffering from sensitive tooth for quite sometime now and let me tell you even after strictly following my dentist’s advice and using prescribed medicines for months, I haven’t got completely cured. No fault of the doctor but the fact that sensitivity of the tooth takes pretty long to heal.

    So, now you can make out how bogus the abovementioned and such other ads are which publicize quick relief or instant result be it tooth ache or greasy utensils. 🙂

    And then there are those which use women as sex objects …I can almost write a blog in corroboration to yours. 🙂

    Great…you’ve shaken up a bee-hive so to say!!

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