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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Advertising is not a profession. It's HAPPINESS!

1996. The scorching sun was ruthless while sending heat waves to toast lives. Especially to roast someone who had completed his engineering but didn’t accept any job from the campus interview because he wanted to be a copy writer.

The guy had no knowledge in advertising. All he could afford to speak in English were Yes, No, Thanks. His writing was worse than pathetic, and most importantly he also knew it for a fact.

His mom was in her deathbed, suffering from cancer. His dad got retired six years back. And he was not on talking terms with his beloved elder bro who was dead against advertising. He had no friend. No philosopher. No guide.

Money was more than precious to him. In fact, more precious than his life.

One day, he saw a classified ad in the newspaper that a small, almost unknown ad agency was looking for a copy writer. And it was holding a walk-in for that.

His eyes popped out. As if a wolf found the address of a poultry. Excitement compounded with nervousness - exactly what he felt, immediately.

The agency was at Chandni Chowk – a far away place from his place at Santoshpur. Never mind, as Robert Frost had already written ‘Miles to go before I sleep’. And since there was no sleep even at night, so miles could definitely be travelled. Well, rather smilingly!

But only Rs. 10/- was in the wallet! No worries, since Robert Frost had already told what got to be done before a sleep.

The address was there in the ad but no direction. Hence at least a phone was needed to be made from the neighbourhood PCO. Meant turning Rs 10/- into Rs. 8/- was inevitable.

The receptionist took more time than expected to complete her sentences. Resulting, Rs. 6/- only in the wallet was ready to decide world’s best copy writer in making’s fate.

3.00 PM was the scheduled time for the interview. It was already 10.30 AM when he finished the call.

A rough calculation was made by him soon, and he realised if he would start walking around 12.00 o’clock – after all it was a walk-in, you see – he could reach in time.

He reached the agency by 2.45, somehow saving his shirt from being recognised as a snot rag serving a sneezing Yeti, clenching his handmade mock work-portfolio in a bag as tightly as possible to his chest.

The interview had begun and ended, and he understood he was rejected.

What next? ‘Miles to go (in the reverse direction) before I sleep’.

It might have been okay, had the sun read Robert Frost too. But, as it didn’t, it was making even ‘an inch to go’ impossible for the rejected (and dejected) copy writer.

Anyway, Chandni Chowk is close to Lalbazar, hence, there was every possibility that he would be picked up off the pavement if seen sitting there thanks to his good-look and handsomeness.

So no choice but going… miles again.

The dehydration was getting him undone sooner, and the wallet was carrying only Rs. 2/- then, as he dared to eat out four biscuits at Rs. 4/- on his way back.

Up to Camac Street, Robert Frost was a good company, motivation, and inspiration until Stephen Hawing appeared suddenly to offer him some rest in a black hole in front of Shantineketan Building.

Bar, as you know, nobody loves to see anyone’s taking rest, a tea vendor got perturbed unlike other gentlemen out there. So he sprinkled water on an unconscious face and wiped the blood stench off a bleeding nose and a pair of badly hurt lips.

(Dropping yourself with a thud on road on your face is not a good idea – take a note of it).

Anyway, not only did the vendor sprinkle water but also offered a glass of milk with sugar. And that too, knowing fully well that he won’t be paid for anything. In addition, the vendor also shelled out Rs. 10/- to help the destiny’s child reach home safely. For a change, by a bus.


His mom passed away. He got his first job. With a remarkable salary of Rs 300/- per month. Giving a tough competition to the office bearer who used to draw Rs. 500/-.

He got his first month’s salary. Bought sweets of Rs. 50/- and went to Camac Street. Met that tea-vendor after 2 months, hugged him and handed over the box of sweets.

Both made an instant connection and started to talk for over an hour. Their discussion ranged from an elite God to the pinned Hawai chappals.

Later on, perhaps this insight helped the two lines: Elite mane Solid and Shahor Theke Gayen, Holir Rongey Rongin Sobai Elite Hawai Paye – coined by the copy writer for Elite Hawais to get his footholds in the market.

First in Kolkata, and gradually across India and beyond the national boundary.

Just the reason, that copy writer has never left his love: advertising, has never left pavements, and has never denounced the good effects of gratitude to be a man of struggles beyond mere bank balance, frivolous designation and so-called success.

And for everything, he’s VERY HAPPY, now!

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