Pic of Sadar Bazar Station Image Source
In 2001, I was living a life which everyone wants to. A cushy comfortable Life, working at Family’s 50 year old Shop in Sadar Bazar, Travelling by our comfortable AC Car, Selling Hundred Dozens of Unbranded Ladies undergarments to hawkers (One’s who put Stalls at Weekly bazaars) everyday. Also used to have Afternoon Naps, go and meet vendors and create new packaging and new products and then back to home with a satisfying day and looking forward to another.
I believed in the theory, “When In Rome, Be a Roman” and while selling to these Customers of ours, I used to talk in their language and in the bargain, Earned their Love to an extent that whenever I was not at shop they would ask “Chotte Bhaiya kahaan hai, Hum to unse hi maal lenge”.
It carried out wonderfully for year and a half. Then one day…. We had a School alumni meet and I realized that I am not able to converse properly with my friends….. Leave apart English, not even in Decent Hindi. That night was tough and I started questioning myself of where am I heading & of what I was able to visualize was not very pleasant.
Got up with swelled eyes the next morning and went to the shop in routine way. Rather than being an Active Participant, I remained passive that day as if observing others and myself from a Third person perspective. It made my belief more strong that I have to get out of this. Not only because I was not growing, but also because for the first time I noticed that this way of whole sale trading is not going to last for long.
In a few years, Manufacturers would directly reach the shopkeeper at his Shop/Village, Advance credit to them, Exchange non selling products. All this was not possible in our Framework.
Pondering over these issues the entire day… I came back home and talked to my father over Dinner and informed him that “I would not go to Shop from tomorrow”. Obviously he laughed it off and asked me… “Fir Kya karega”. Seriously, I had no Answer! I did not know what I would do, But knew what I would not. I replied, “Pata nahi, But Dukaan par nahi jaunga”
With no idea what to do and to avoid the wrath of parents by staying at home I decided to apply for a Job & get it irrespective of Work Profile, Designation, Salary etc. After all who was I to negotiate?? So, Scanned the Newspapers and spotted an opening for a “Customer Service Associate” in a Small Ad Agency.
This was how my NewsPaper looked that day Image Source
Now I had done my “Advance Diploma in Sales and Marketing” from “National Institute of Sales and Marketing” and somehow Advertisements always caught my attention and appreciation. So I pursued that line.
I scanned the “Situations Vacant” in Classified Section Newspapers next morning & seeing a requirement for a Customer care Executive, I reached the office of that small Creative Agency on the Third Floor in Rani Jhansi Road.
To the uninformed, In Delhi, Rani Jhansi Road was where most of the Ad Agencies in 80’s started their Business from. As I climbed those stairs and reached the reception Huffing and Puffing, I slipped the Ad Cutting on the receptionist Desk and was asked to wait. Almost after 3 Minutes, a gentleman who seemed to second in command, came to me and said that the vacancy was filled yesterday only. Hearing this, I did not know how to react as since yesterday Night I was dreaming about it and how my life will change after getting this Job.
Now before the Gentleman could turn back to his cabin, I asked him if there is any other vacancy in the agency. He Smiled and said of a “CopyWriter”. I said “WOW, I want to apply for it” with no idea “How and Why I said this” He asked me about my prior Experience if any and I answered in negative, But confidently asked him for a situation so that I could work on it. He was kind enough to agree (Had he not, I would not be writing this today) and asked me to sit in a small room. There he told me that they are working for a brand called “Param Milk”, which has the Tag line “Next only to Mothers Milk” and asked me to work on an Ad, Any Ad.
Param Milk Packets
Now in those Days of Britannia and Modern Breads, Harvest Gold was a New Bread. Harvest Gold was very well advertised (Equus Red Cell) by writing Limericks on Current Issues/News and combining them with Harvest Gold Bread at the end. (A Limerick is a short, humorous, nonsense poem which rhymes) The advertisement appeared every Friday at the last page of the magazine Sections of HT and ToI! The Section was called “Bakwaas Advertising, First Class Bread”
This is the layout of Harvest gold Ad,though this one is of recent times. Image Source
I loved them to an extent that every Friday, I used to start reading the newspaper from the back and then from the main page, only after I was done with the Limerick.
(BTW till my interview was over, I never knew it was called a Limerick) So, since that style was fresh in my mind, I tried to explore that and recommend them to use the concept with a new issue every week. What helped me was that Movie “Lagaan” was just released so I embedded it in my limerick. Here it goes:-
“ Amir hai fantastic, Ajab hai uska Style,
Jab bhi dikhta hai Screen par, Sabke mooh par aa jaati hai Smile.
Kee usne Barri Mehnat, banane mein “Lagaan”
Picchle do Saal se Aamir ka yahi tha Dhyaan.
Saare Achambhe se mujhse poochte hai, Is he Born Great, Ya acche hai iske Karam?
I just Smile and Say, He must be Drinking Doodh Param” Aamir Khan Playing his Character Bhuvan in Lagaan.
Now, being Happy with What I wrote, My Sleeping Grey Cells started popping out and I decided to write more. Print Ad with the concept of “Aaja Sanam, madhur Chandni mein Hum, Baith ke Piye Doodh Param” Radio Ads 1)
“Param mein hai Shakti, Param mein hai Dum, Jhoomne laga hai mera mann, peekar Doodh Param. (Voice Over) Param Doodh, Har ghoont mein Shakti”
2) A person Singing this Jagjit Singh Gazal “Yeh Daulat bhi le lo, Yeh Shauhrat bhi lelo, Bhale chheen lo, mujhse meri jawaani, magar Mujhe lauta do woh Gaon ka Doodh aur who Paneer Naram” Voice Over “Arre Bhai, Yeh sab kuch Tyagne ki Zarurat nahi, Bas nazdeek ke Param outlet par jao aur Atyadhunik Pranali se bana Param Doodh,Ghee aur Paneer lekar aao aur fir gao “Mujhe mil Gaya, Mein to khil Gaya” And uskje baad silsila chalta gaya
- “Hai har Maa ka Dharam, Chehh Mahine ke ho jaye Shishu, to pilaye Doodh Param”
- “Footte hai unke karam, Jinhone nahi peeya doodh Param, Piyoge Doodh param, to Nibha sakoge apna Dharam”
- Jab Param ka liya hai Doodh pi, To kyu try karte Param ghee, Param ke Ghee mein hai aisi Shudhi, barr jayegi aapki Buddhi”
- “If you want Good Life in next Janam, Then do good Karam, And for Healthy Life in this Janam, Drink Milk only of Param”
- “Param Doodh har Pal, Kal, aaj Aur Kal”
And then another Limerick as Parvez Musharraf was about to visit India to meet the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Pervez Musharraf and Atal bihari Vajpayee at the Agra Summit Image Source
“Pervez Bhai, Coming in July and to Agra he will fly,
At night he will have some rest,Do hope that next day he will give his best,
Saare Dost karte hai duayen,in dono ke baatien, Rangat laaye,
Jab hogi inki baatien khatam, karenge who yeh kaam Pratham, Cheeni milakar piyenge Doodh PARAM”
This and some more half baked ones were finished in 30 mins and shared with the Gentleman. He Saw, He Read, He Nodded, He Smiled, He Shook hands and he asked me to come tomorrow to meet the Owner of the Agency.
Lo jee balle balle ho gayi apni!!
I reached next day with a Smile on my Lips and an extra hop in my step. And somehow those same steps which seemed similar to climbing Mt Everest yesterday, looked easy to climb today. Here I was in Directors Cabin. He asked me about my background, my hobbies, and my Educational qualifications.
And then announced “We Can’t hire you.” And when I wondered why, He Said “You seem to be Over Qualified, What we would pay you would not be in line with your expenses and very soon you would move out, You are from a Business Background and after 2 years, you may open your own agency and try to poach our clients. Thank you” And I got up and moved out.
Somehow I was not able to understand what he said that day, but today in hindsight I realise how limited his vision was and how insecure he felt.
Chalo jee… udhar to nahi hua… But in same day’s newspaper, there was an Advertisement for Walk-in Interview at Appu Ghar for Marketing Executives. And it was hardly few kilometres away, so I decided to give a shot there and GOT THE JOB. Though now that’s a different Story for some other time. So Crux here is that India lost a Potential Creative Director even before he was born.
And I just wonder mere jaise aise kitne honge?
By the way if some one is wondering, how come I remember all these lines written 12 years back…. Then please have look at the collage below. Luckily have preserved the pages on which I had written them.
Oh yes, I still do limericks and allied stuff occasionally. And here is one to say Good Bye
Bas aaj baithe baithe purana zamana saamne aa gaya. Woh samay tha aisa ki sochte hi dimaag par saroor sa chha gaya,
Us saroor ko humne apne laptop par uttar diya, Aur aapki Screen par bhijwa diya,
Umeed hai humne nahi kiya aapka samay barbaad,Chalo, kiya bhi ho, to isi bahane karoge humko yaad.
PS: Some Images have been Self Clicked and some have been sourced from Google Images” Thanks to all who clicked or created them