It might have taken sages and saints to understand the true meaning of life, but if you switch on the idiot box for a couple of minutes, you will achieve “nirvana’ in just a couple of minutes. The purpose of life, all the needs of human beings seem to have boiled down to three "basic needs". One: we all want to be beautiful; two: we all want to be healthy; three: we all want to stay connected.

When most of us won’t try to argue about the importance of the second mentioned "need", we might disagree over the means to stay so. Although the two other mentioned "purposes" of life are highly debatable, but before you start wondering what my cock and bull story is all about, I will, betraying my journalistic ethics, name the source that has uncovered this national secret for me. Yes, it is so. Television advertisements have convinced me how I, all my life, had been misguided by my education and upbringing about the basic needs of a normal human being.

You try to watch something on the television, get interrupted by the commercial break and you see your own sanity being challenged every thirty seconds. This is not to malign the medium of advertisement at all, NO, this is the about the biscuit ads that are assuring me health instead of a good tea time. This is about the shampoos that do not guarantee a nice clean wash but offer us all a chance to become the next beauty queens. And if, by some god forsaken coincidence, a very creative copy writer is hired by the ad agency, he or she would ‘deviate’ from the regular, done to death course and come up with something, shall we say... unique.

He or she can come up with this different yet scary idea: the idea that the small green (blue or orange or yellow) bottle lying purposely in my bathroom shelf is packed with all the exotic fruits, some of which I do not even dream of tasting in my life before I die, but here it is! ‘PACKED’ in a small jar waiting to be applied to... hair?

You also cannot have a normal bread these days. It needs to be ‘fortified’ (heaven only knows why we need that in bread). We are not allowed to have a simple toast. NO. The privilege has been denied. We are supposed to have fortified bread; milk, with IRON and extra vitamins; and water, not just the plain old one, but its fancier packaged version. 

Assuming you survive this health bombardment, you would be left to deal with the "beautification" parade. Aside from the 'fairness' mania, there are other more creative advertisers. They guarantee not just the ‘gora’ complexion, but also promise an instant wedding proposal. If you are still wondering what this was all about, stay put.

Once you are healthy… smelling of oranges and apples, eating vitamins day in and day out, you need to worry about one more thing. Whom are you going to talk to whole through the night… or day? And that too for ‘dirt cheap prices’ loaded with hidden taxes? A band of teenagers all clad in designer clothes - since nothing else is acceptable in depicting the hip and happening life of an urban teenager - the pencil thin girls and the all too primed boys seem to do nothing but stay ‘connected’ ... with heaven knows whom.

There is some sort of a newly recognized emergency situation that raids your mind once you watch these ads. It makes a map in the head which looks something like this: An average Pakistani gets up. Eats vitamin induced breads, drinks milk full of minerals (when half of us doubt if the white mixture we drank even qualifies as milk), uses soaps and shampoos personally recommended by Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, and certified by an International medical institution that might scream if they learnt that their name is promoting those unknown substandard products. But nothing can beat the importance of a phone package that promises us to stay connected with our loved ones for good - conditions apply. 

Advertisements could be more realistic and honest if the companies running them want to earn loyal customers. The jars brimming with sun beams and bread kneaded with molten iron, cellular service "assuring" a lifestyle full of branded clothes and make-belief "hunks" on the other side of the phone... all of this can only give us creeps, which they surely do, but not earn us as loyal customers.