Sanjeev Kotnala: Will the average Indian dad be cool with his daughter taking off to Lonavala without intimating?

27 Nov,2014

By Sanjeev Kotnala


It was late evening. The TV was on and I was using the ad breaks to make some calls, when out of the blue, my daughter asked me a simple question.


Papa what would you have done?

When?… I had no context to the subject.

If I told you, I am going to my friend’s house for overnight study. Then, late at night, called to tell you that I was in Lonavala with friends.

Preetica, what is this? I know, beta, you will never do that… (A doubt crept in) will you… but why would you do that … I was now getting worried not knowing where it was leading

No, think if I really did.


Ok… Parenting instinct kicked in… I would ask you to hold where you were… take the address… comes over to pick you… However, I know you would never do this. Right? (There was a father seeking confirmation)


What if, I said I was feeling guilty having lied and hence was calling you to inform.


I do not think there would be a change in my reaction. If you have to do something behind my back without informing me, then there is no trust. Or, say, the trust is broken. And it would not be the right thing, otherwise why would you do that. Not to encourage you, (Tolerate would have been wrong word) I would come and pick you up.


Papa, I love you.


Suddenly the Kinley TVC came on. I saw the interaction between an ultra cool unworried father and daughter. I realised what made my daughter pose that question. The communication was not right.


My wife joined the discussion and this time I head another take. Do you advertising guys (I am still seen as one) truly believe that a father in current times would be ok and tell her go to sleep. WHAT KIND OF A DAD IS HE? I just hope you do not react like this. Trust is one thing and this is rather a serious breach of trust. It cannot be overlooked. And because you have 20-30 seconds, there is no check – where are you, who are the friends, do we know them, can I have alternate number, when would you be back, don’t do this again! Now, do not give me the argument that not everything can be shown. Consumers need to complete it in their head. And did Manmohan Desai show Jai and Viru reloading their revolvers every tine?


I then talked to as many people I could and realised that they find the situation and the talk dumb. As dumb as ‘Sachaai Har Boond Mein’.


My wife was not finished with the subject and in the morning she fired another salvo. What is the kind of an industry you work in, it raises a debate when boss (wife) lovingly cooks for her husband but is silent when a daughter lies to her father. Or all such things are well-timed PR for the industry. Good, now people hardly believe and they laugh or switch off (mentally) during the break.


I did not tell her this was by O&M and what Piyush Pandey had to say for it. May be  ‘Paani  ki har boond mein sachaai’ in sometime will be as strong as ‘Fevicol matlab mazboot jod’. I personally doubt it.


May be (that is all there to say) the TG which consumes mineral water has a differentially moral values and culturally so open that such behaviour is common and justified. May be their dads are not a worried lot. May be they expect that sometime daughters lie. To them her calling and letting him know is a victory. It is not important that the daughter had not only lied and gone out of town. OVERNIGHT. The representation did imply that dad was not calling from Khandala but from a nearby town like Mumbai. No question, no creasing of forehead. Absolutely calm. Totally in control. A dad that definitely does not represent Bharat.


I read Piyush defending ‘It was all about picking instances from real life with two possibilities. Avoiding unpleasant by lying or taking the courageous path of being honest and facing the situation. And honesty brings an inner strength to face the results’. No issue with this thought, it is a strong one and that helps the brand move a bit more positively forward with the theme, but the situation sucks.


People from UnMetro that I spoke had a simple reaction. Sautela Baap hoga. Kaisa baap hai kuch bhi tension nahi.. Beti ne toh bhata diya. Boli neend nahi aa rahi thi. Aab woh soyegi aur yeh jagega poori raat. (Must be her step-father. What kind of a dad is he? No tension? Now that she has told him, she will sleep and he will be awake the whole night).


My friend’s grandmother with her wrinkled toothless smile had the best take. Hota hai beta, is umar mein hota hai. Aab kya mohalla uthayega. Prathana kar theek-thak wapas aa jaye chhori. Ghar aayegi tab dekhlenge phir kaisey khabhi pair rakhti hai baahar. (These things happen in this age. Now will you wake up the mohalla. Just pray she comes back safe. And then we will she how she steps out of the house ever.) I completely understand her point of view.


Then someone said she has gone to Lonavala not Khandala that the dad should be worried. I think this is the only place where Piyush and team is right, picking the right reference avoiding ‘Aati kya kandala’ links.



Sanjeev Kotnala is Head Catalyst at INTRADIA and believes that the best way forward for an Organization is to enhance the potential of  internal teams instead of depending on external resources. He is a management- marketing-media consultant and also conducts specialised workshops in the area of ‘Harvesting and LiberatingIdeas’ and Innovation.  To contact email or tweet at s_kotnala visit


Sanjeev Kotnala’s ‘KOTMARTIAL’ appears on Wednesday. It couldn’t be carried yesterday due to a tech hitch.


Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.

Today's Top Stories