Roti King

Often one of the pleasures of mid-range Indian hotels is a color TV, which usually doesn't work. When it does work, we could switch back and forth between melodramatic Indian soap operas, "I Dream of Jeanie" or "Baywatch" in Hindi, or Indian MTV. If we were lucky, we might be able to catch the news on CNN or an old movie in English. Our favorite ad on the English language programs was the for the "Roti King" – "only available on TV"– almost a direct copy of late-night American TV ads for things like "amazing ginzu knives," or "salad shooters." The deep-voiced announcer would ask all the ladies if they wouldn't like to "throw away those old fashioned rolling pins and pans for making rotis with the "amazing Roti King", an implement "so beautiful you can put it on your table" – followed by the pitch for sending money to a PO Box in Bombay. Every time we saw it we howled, but were never moved to send in the necessary cash.

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