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Monday, 19 November 2012

13 Until I Die! [Chapter 8: From Dilli to Mumbai]

R&D at Amrita Institute for Sciences seemed to have found some herbal formula for aids. It needed a TVC (television campaign).

Shot 1: Fingers crossed. Text on global aids statistics. Shot 2: Fingers open. Text on miracles of science. Shot 3. Green ribbon. Branding – logo and text.

The 50-sec aids awareness campaign was shot with the help of a hand model – at the end of my right arm; voiced over by Rini Khanna of DoorDarshan news reading fame. It was the first ad film – researched, scripted and directed by RD.

Everlasting Media’s production house got busier with the elections. Movie maker Shyamaprasad was flown in from down south to hear my script on ‘India shining’ promo. It had a futuristic/hi-tech story line - a software engineering student video chatting with her parents in the village. [In the previous decade video-chat was still futuristic]

The Lok Sabha Elections kept Mishraji very busy. He wanted his creative team [me] to help him with pre and post poll analysis long after work hours at his home [cum party meeting office] in Janpath. Thank you Yashwant Deshmukhji for your wonderful humour – that helped your team [and me] stay awake in the dead of the night reading horribly boring election data. It was while travelling to C-Voters’ huddled in a West Delhi flat, Mishraji’s house cum party office in Parliament Street and the production houses in Green Park, that I got a chance to ask myself what the hell I was doing.

Everlasting Media thus did not last too long. Janpath's khadi-clad poll potentials flashing their pan-stained teeth is not comfortable sight too long… even though you pretend to be a tom-boy it wears off when they kharrrr and phuaaat into the street-side nalah. I returned their namastejis [greetings] and quickly thought of a politically correct good bye to Mishraji and his pan-chomping brigade. ‘Sir my parents have found a groom for me so I must go to get married. Please give me your blessings.’ [Palms together like in prayer].

Every night I narrated the day’s story to my YWCA room mates and they laughed their lungs out. I almost believed I may have a parallel career in stand-up comedy. I loved that attention though my audience were just a handful of tiered-of-the-long-day eyes.

May be because I never asked for help, they all did. I mean my roomies. Why should they bother to look for a job for me otherwise?

An event organiser wanted ‘an enthusiastic journalist’ to join as their brand manager. Meaning to know what they expect of me I asked a lot more questions than Mr Boss had for me. Never knew before that if you ask questions at a job interview, you actually get the job.

When you are just about 23, and if you happen to spot Brand Manager on your visiting card, it puts a smile on your face like you have won the Oscars. But soon the smile turned upside down, so did my world, as the job took me away from [my] Dilli to faraway Mumbai.

At's Vashi office I could decide not just their website content and campaigns but also execute it the way I wished to - liaising with ad agencies. Power comes with some amount of freedom from everything except an honest social life. I was enjoying it anyway. I had an 8-member content team to ask for help [but they had full plates already]. I was here, there and everywhere - launching live reports and photos online from industry event's at Goregaon through my laptop and Reliance phone connection. I could not miss product launches and breakthrough deals at the various stands or the expert's industry forecast at the seminars. Some colleagues felt that with each road show to the event I was growing skinnier. Skinny is not a complement when you are already skinny.

While I attended business lunches in crisp business suits [borrowed from my MBA friends] and presented the company’s plans on PowerPoints, the family of Mr Boss, Mrs Boss and two kid Bosses socialised to find more industry partners/money/ideas. I ‘also’ got to fly all around the country – from Amritsar to Chennai - to conduct road shows, to announce the coming of the company’s new baby – Indian Converting Show 2002 [no background scores only clap-clap by team members seated strategically among the audience].

While in Mumbai after work – I ‘also’ got to do a diploma from SIES School of Packaging Packaging Technology Centre sponsored by the company [so that I ask intelligent questions to makers of Heidelberg and the like].

Lot of learning and running around there in a short time. 6 months sprinted off like a weekend short of a weekend. I was ‘also’ their highest paid employee. Mrs Boss said that many times in my absence that it reached me via grapevine as ‘also’ intended. Why? Because I must not leave on a personal vacation because they were already lining up so many travels anyway for me.

The company was ‘also’ a regular at Messe-Frankfurt’s fairs in Europe and was later on bought over by another global conglomerate in the events industry. All poorly paid skeletal staff were retained while Mr and Mrs Boss took a tour to Europe to taste the finest wines after their pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi – says grapevine.

Thank you Anil Arora for loving/accepting Bee-Pasha [the hardworking honeybee] as your mascot for India Converting Show. [It is another story that a lot of companies thought Bollywood’s hottie Bipasha was at the event.]

Donno if it was Mumbai’s masala, magic or madness… but I am glad it did rain to only make me dance in it.

Happy old couples by the beach inspired me to think of what true love must be like.

to be continued…

General disclaimer: Any resemblance to persons living, dead, or reincarnated is not a coincidence. No animals were injured during the making of this novelog although some monkeys may have their feelings hurt. Sorry.


Chapter 10: The long way back home

Chapter 11: Radio Killed The Video Star

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