Case Studies

Look at this very modern ad that has gained a lot of popularity.

This ad represents the aspiration of a modern, progressive Indian woman perfectly.

What do we see in this ad?

  • She is not afraid of authority. She asserts herself to her manager who is much older and professionally senior.
  • She has a modern outlook. Takes umbrage when told about hiding the bump.
  • She is ambitious. A woman well into her pregnancy works day and night for her career progress.
  • She fights for her rights. Demands a promotion when she knows she deserves it.
  • She voices her opinion. Clearly expresses her disapproval with the management decision.
  • She is fearless. At such a delicate time, she chooses to opt out of her secure job and start her own company.
  • She is confident that she will make it big. She builds a plush office even before she has started off.

Now, let us look at what is easy to miss in the ad.

They wear clothes per their age. The senior wears a saree, the junior a kurta (less traditional than a saree).
Clothes are traditional/ colours are very Indian (family of red)
Her body language is traditional.

Respect for the elder. While the dominant sentiment of the ad is fighting for one’s rights against authority, it does not happen at the cost of respect for age or authority.

Even though she is pregnant, she walks over to the other side of the car so that her manager can take the seat on the same side of the car that is easier to access.
Her expressions are almost apologetic when she asserts herself, against her manager
She turns behind to look at the manager as she walks away, as a mark of respect. She does not just turn her back disrespectfully.

And most interestingly, there are subtle attempts to cover the bump, either by use of jacket, or with the help of hand.

Traditionally, why do pregnant women in India hide their bump?

As per our tradition, procreation is a sacred process. Anything that is sacred is treated with a certain degree of secrecy.

In a temple structure, the most sacred part, that is the presiding deity, is hidden in the sanctum sanctorum (Latin word which means that which is most sacred among all things sacred). The corresponding word among the Hindus is Garbagrha. This Sanksrit word, comes from Garbha (the womb) and Griha (house). The mother’s womb is accorded one of the most reverential and sacred status. And is meant to be concealed. Just like the presiding deity in the temple.

Even though, the ad is a proud announcement of modern India embracing a progressive mindset, it is replete with signs that will tend to agree with an Indian’s subconscious sensibilities, each one deeply embedded in countless stories of our ancient culture.

At Road Not Taken, we study Indian culture very deeply from an ancient lens. Understanding the roots of the Indian value system enables us to get the right cultural nuances that resonate with every Indian’s sensibility.

Some examples of application areas of our Cultural Expertise:

  1. Communication strategy
  2. Business propositions
  3. Brand Values
  4. Organization Values
  5. Change Management
  6. Glocalization – adopting global ideas in a local market