Yes Our Can !

Visiting a family that i often visit, i have to use the toilet a.k.a washroom in ‘developed’ circles. Marveling at the body’s engineering processes, which somehow sense proximity of clean toilets, to alert the urges, i enter !
It was a super clean and neat place. It continues to be so. To this day ! And there, just as i am using the pot, in a corner is this green can. ‘Castrol’ it says ! (You know Castrol dont you?) And of course, it is filled to the brim with water and apparently, part of mainstream usage !

Surely, Castrol didn’t pay this family for strategic brand placement in the washroom! It is just another can that was being put to the best of reuse and recycle ! Millions in India do this.

Every rural morning sun sees people walking the fields with cans that say ‘Castrol’ or “Servo’ or ‘Asian Paints’ *** etc ! They held lubricants, oil, paint when they moved out of the factory. But in their recycled avatar, they are usually filled with water. And comes in handy for porting water…you know…for all what water comes in handy for.

Sometimes they help in porting garbage. Cleaning Autorickshaws. At other times they are cow feed carriers. At yet others for brewing illicit hooch!! And of course, they are used by the Public Works Department in perennial road building activities as well !

And why not….

I presume these cans are made to the strictest Seven Sigma quality ( Six Sigma standards + one sigma extra for all the noise made about Six Sigma ). Made by the best of engineering minds, out of the best material possible and sport colour combinations chosen by brand consultants ! And of course, come to production only after exacting quality checks !

I turn to the green Castrol can in the corner. This time around, i look at it with higher respect. And i wonder, how my reactions would change, if i worked for Castrol. Would i run my finger affectionately on the can, and say, with a Obama like thud, ‘Yes ! Our Can‘ !?!

I finish up what i came into the toilet for. And then, i cast one last respectful glance at the green Castrol can and with imagination running riot about a mob of Castrol users shouting ‘Yes Our Can’, i look at it a little more intently.

I spot a sticker on it that reads : ‘Its more than oil. Its liquid engineering’ !

It all comes together ! A light bulb glows somewhere. Suddenly, brand placement seems appropriate ! Pot on !

(*** Castrol, Servo and Asian Paints are common examples going by my mind share and corresponding assumptions of visibility in toilets / washrooms. They are not quoted here out of personal association / spite / liking etc. Ok !?! )

13 thoughts on “Yes Our Can !

  1. Braja says:

    Hey wait a minute, you’re not gettin’ paid for this are you Kavi? :))

  2. ROTPHL. All those 6 sigmas becoming epsilonic….All that desperate planning for designing dabbas for oil and paints. I hope that light bulb was CFL ? Enjoyed this post !

  3. dinu says:

    ‘Its more than oil. Its liquid engineering’ !

    I’ve always loved that line 😀

    and I can understand this post better, after reading The White Tiger 😀

  4. Nachi says:

    ROTFWL!!!…“It’s more than oil, it’s liquid engineering.”


    …you nailed that one brah!!

    “chahiye Kavi jaisa dimaag toh khaao, Britannia Milk Bikis!! iske har biscuit mein doodh hai!”

  5. Ganesh says:


    One of your best posts.


  6. nsiyer says:

    I notice the transformation from ‘we can’ during the mumbai riots to ‘our can’ in the new year.
    Fantastic is the observation.

    I liked the ones -‘liquid engineering, seven sigma and quality checks’. Amazing sense of humour.

    I need to choose what to keep in the potty when I invite you home.

  7. Kavi says:

    Braja : Thats some wish ! How i wish !!?! 🙂

    Ugich Konitari : Thank You ! Light bulb was CFL LOL !!!Some CFL it was !!!! LOL !!

    Dinu : you have stoked my curiosity about Arvind Adiga quite well..I have to read it quickly !!

    Ganesh : Thank You ! bests seem to lie in the toilet. I mean…my idea generation prowess !!

    NS Iyer : I guess the influence of office is working on me !! Thank you sir !

  8. Sajan says:

    As everyone here said “…it’s liquid engineering.” was a killer:-). Nice insight Kavi!

  9. Enjoyed reading this post, Kavi.

    Share with us your insights on psychology of choice! Whether it is a lubricant company’s container in the tolet or a paint company’s!


  10. Pearl says:

    Ah, Kavi, and this is why I always look forward to finding out what you have to say. You have this wide-eyed, amused viewpoint that I flatter myself is close to my own.
    And — say, I just found out that “kavi” means “poet”. 😀 And so now I know that perhaps thsi is not your real name — or perhaps it is — but either way, it is fitting to you.
    What a great way to start my day. Thanks!

  11. Jeevan says:

    What more left! Peoples friendly Cans! We too used those castrol cans sometimes then, even today our uncle family uses these cans replacing buckets. We also use cans for filtering water by just putting holes under the can to filled with mud, and dropping mud into cans grow plants.

  12. Kavi says:

    Sajan : Thanks mate ! Such insights strike me at appropriate places !! 🙂

    Vivek : Sir, the lubricant insight is here. The paint company insights, you know ! 🙂

    Hobo : 🙂

    Pearl : Aw ! Thats too kind. I enjoy reading your posts too !!

    And btw, that indeed is my real name ! My dad thought i would be a poet ! 🙂

    Jeevan : Ah. the gardening angle..i completely missed it !


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