Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

The Good Mother

Updated May 13, 2016 04:54pm
Why our media needs to stop showing mothers as domestic pieces of perfection.

Yesterday I heard the new TCS Sentiments Express spot on the radio. A boy, too lazy to go out to buy a gift for his mother on Mother’s Day, is singing (literally) the praises of TCS’s home pickup and delivery service. He ordered a gift online and the gift was delivered, much to the delight of his mother. She broke into tears, naturally (dil khushi se bhar aaya). Here is the same theme played during a morning show.

Then we have the Shaan commercial (which recently won a PAS Award) featuring a super-whiny boy living abroad complaining to his elder brother that Eid is so depressing when one is away from home. So the elder brother cooks up a desi meal with the help of Mom and Shaan masalas and then Skypes their mother when his younger siblings comes home. Although the boys are in tears, their mom’s eyes are completely dry; nevertheless she says they made her cry. What I could hear loud and clear was, ‘Beta, cry all you want, this crying mama needs you to stay put and keep earning.” Witness the glory here:

The Rafhan TVC where a little girl stitches a love message for her mom does not make her cry, but I think I can detect something in her eyes which might be the precursor to tears. Or I might be seeing things. See if you are as eagle-eyed as I am:

Then there is the Tapal Family Mixture commercial where after seen though a wedding, misunderstandings and all, the grandmother still finds an excuse to cry, as apparently the bride was the only person in the household able to make tea. You know, since the primary duty of a woman is to make tea and edibles for their sons/brothers/husbands and their assorted female relations. To watch angry dads, jovial devars, sleeping kids, apprehensive bahus and a whining dadi, check out:

Cramming so many trite clichés into one ad is an outstanding achievement. Where’s the PAS Award?


The moms in our ads are made for crying. Son passes an exam – sob. Daughter’s nikah – sniffle. Son and gori bride return from abroad; money is received via text message in a remote village; long lost sisters meet; toddler wins a sack race; all these occasions call for rivers of tears.


To paraphrase Shakespeare, as far as the women in our ads are concerned all the world is a susral and they are mere bahus playing their roles and becoming saas in the process!

The moms in our ads are made for crying. Son passes an exam – sob. Daughter’s nikah – sniffle. Son and gori bride return from abroad; money is received via text message in a remote village; long lost sisters meet; toddler wins a sack race; all these occasions call for rivers of tears.

I get it; a mother is the most important relation in the world, in fact it won’t be remiss if I say that mothers run this world. Our bond with our mothers is the deepest and the most emotional. However, ‘emotions’ and ‘tears’ need not go together. One can be emotional yet silent and stony. Emotions also include anger, excitement, sadness and of course, happiness.

Trouble is, the gender stereotyping in our society is so deep that we are not used to seeing women express themselves in public. Don’t flinch; how many times do we see a girl laughing loudly and label her as ‘bold’?

Same goes for mothers. They are allowed to be respected, to be served, to be revered, but heaven forbid they cannot be human. Their only publicly acceptable emotion is sadness or tears of happiness. They have to appear weak, always dependent on their children, always looking to them for support or fulfilment. If they are shown to be ambitious, this can only be for their offspring. All the modern, educated ladies depicted by Cerelac, Dettol, Harpic etc., are obsessed with cleaning their house, cooking and doing the laundry – not for themselves but for their kids and family. Similarly, cooking oil brands have a standard way for mothers to earn their family’s love: cook to please their taste buds.

We need to stop treating mothers like showpieces of domestic perfection and start treating them as equals, homemakers and above all, entitled to all the good things in life.