Tuesday, May 16, 2006

lost in translation

Posted by Picasa all is greek...

Among the religions I have lost, punctuality is distinctly placed on the top of a long and happening list. As a result, I walked into the office an hour late. It had only been a month since I had joined and I had already used up all my excuses. When I say that I have used up all my excuses, please do not underestimate my imagination. I regard myself highly when it comes to cooking up creative excuses in all situations, times and languages. For instance – once upon a time there was a black panther that cut my path. The very superstitious me couldn’t make it to the office that day. A Unicorn that drilled a hole in my petrol tank and the Santa who peed in my water tank during his Christmas flight are also contenders for the top spot. It looked like my boss had given upon me. He tried professional advise, changed it to a Coreleonish threat and now it was just an old man’s plea. I ignored all the three with equal disdain. I make the rules around here!

I had an ad campaign to finish. A break from those boring classified clones. I had been sleeping with that ad for the last 3 days. My boss though, did not share the same lust for the ad as me. He threw me in the middle of a couple of nymphomaniacal black & white 3x8 ads. I succumbed to the pressure. And now I am sounding too melodramatic. Anyways, after winning the battle of the classifieds, I went back to my love. The love making session was too short even for the ejaculation of a headline. The jealous boss was at me yet again. “We have a meeting in another 15 minutes. We need to revamp a website for Karnataka State Women’s development corporation. We are serving the government and hence that should be our first priority.” Despite my strong love for women and everything about them, I despised the job.

I reluctantly got up from my chair and joined him. If you have seen a government establishment in any corner of the country, you can describe one anywhere in India without any trouble. They are all the same. Old people with huge tummies that do not represent their salaries in any way; primitive chairs which has seen more bugs than humans; dilapidated walls that told tales of unemployed employees; an elevator where you have to knock on the door for any response; Pentium MMX computers that are slower to react to human command than the peons at the place; and stuff like that.

A small session of introduction took place, wherein I was introduced as the incarnation who would revolutionise the life of women in the state of Karnataka. I was greeted with some respect and treated to a cup of tea that I badly wanted to swap with my boss’ coffee.
I simply cannot explain the torture that I was put through for ‘the 2 hours’ after that cup of tea. Long discussions in Kannada, a language I can hardly understand, forget speaking. Every two minutes, the client and my boss would look at me for acknowledgement of something I was vaguely aware of. I would nod with a look that was a mixture of stupidity, ignorance, intelligence and sophistication. The one, and the only one, that was needed – a look of understanding – was missed dearly. I managed to bring my boss’ attention to the ads pending at the office that had to go in the evening for publishing. A five-minute lecture on patriotism and the state of women in Karnataka was the answer. I surrendered.

I reached back at my work place after a very ‘fruitful’ meeting. I felt as if I was back after fishing in the Sahara. Sudden realization – Mr. Boss was ogling at my campaign beauty. All of a sudden, it had replaced the ‘empowerment of women’ as the top priority. “Women can get their rights later, but these kids need to know their fashion,” said my boss. I had just squandered two hours trying to decipher a language, and here he was, totally indifferent to my multilingual endeavour, brutally ignoring my efforts. At the end of the day, I had racked my brains over impotent fruits. I was lost in translation over nothing.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

brief encounters of the third kind

Posted by Picasa run Forrest, run...

One thing in me that amuses people, and generates a lot of curiosity, is my passion for hopping jobs. I am not sure whether I can blame them for this strange interest they show in me. I am currently on my 8th job in just over a year and strongly contemplating yet another switch. However, I have persuaded my CV into stating that my current job is only my third. As it is incapable of raising a voice against my dishonesty or suing me on the grounds of manipulation and molestation, third it shall be.

I started my Job Venture back in (I am sounding like one of those retired or army men speaking of their endeavours in battles ages old and fought at places vaguely known) Delhi, on the 26th of January, 2006. I remember the day precisely because it was a national holiday. It was our republic day. The day on which, 50 odd years ago, a bunch of our countrymen who were too eager for independence and too lazy to frame laws for our country, begged and borrowed laws from less lazier people from around the world (primarily from the guys who had then, just left us). If we could thrown them out and then call them for help, we might have as well asked them to stay back, frame the constitution, and then bugger off. Anyways, I had the faintest memory of any of these when I joined McCann Erickson, Delhi.

McCann, till date, is the finest work place I have encountered. Hence, my stay at the place was longest of my brief encounters - 4 months. My CV has been forced to mention 8. I left McCann only and only due to financial reasons. At 1500 bucks a month, I couldn't even survive at the truck driver's dhaba for over 3 weeks. I used to play Frisbee in the office with my boss, for which I have been reprimanded on numerous occasion. I used to walk in at 11, 12, 1, 2 and sometimes even later, making a sorry face along with tales of a sleepless night at the office the day before. Booze used to frequently visit the office disguised in bottles as per the demand of the occasion and the drink. Beautiful babes(McCann, Delhi was known for its babes. Thanks to a few lecherous bosses) were ogled at mercilessly. Yet, I had to leave. In spite of all the joys, dal roti at the trucker's dhaba was not a delightful meal by anyone's standards.

The next place was neatly tucked away at Lajpat Nagar in Southern Delhi. Lajpat Nagar is heaven for MILF Hunters. Take my word for it, coz I am one. I collected my joining letter from the agency and never showed up. A better offer the next day was my reason. It could also have been the name of the agency. It was enticingly called 'Grasshoppers'.

Studio Smile was a decent online advertising place. They were desperate for a copywriter and they hired me giving me a 1000% raise(a record that still stands) from my previous pay package. Thanks to my helplessly faithful CV yet again. A staff of over 100, mostly techies, and a small creative team. And only one person speaking and writing for them all - Me. They considered me god around there. The miracles I performed in order to claim the title being - writing subject lines for emails, devising games, conceptualising screensavers, naming good for nothing web portals, etc. And one day my CEO triggered the departure of god. He asked me to create a web site for him. (I hate promoting my own company.) As a result I developed a sudden stroke of home sickness, applied for a leave of 10 days and headed home. That was the last I saw of studio smile. A nice place, very good money indeed. But money is not everything, is it? Yeah, sort of. My boss did try enticing my dad with huge pay packages, flights abroad and what not. I did not budge. MY luggage had by then settled at Bangalore... and THEY WOULDN'T LET ME WEAR SLIPPERS ON SATURDAY FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!

Imagic Creatives. A place infested with Mallus. Not a very nice thing to say about mallus, but being a mallu myself, I shall take the liberty which Khuswanth Singh took to father santa and banta. They, as in mallus, are always more interested in what others are doing(the others I referred to may or may not be mallus) rather than their own priorities. If I take a leave, before reporting to my boss, I would have to walk up and down three floors reporting to every mallu brother and sister as to why I was absent the previous day/days. It was only after the ritual that my boss would have the privilege of meeting his employer who is being paid by none of the mallu brethren but him. I did not my put my papers down here, I threw them. Not being allowed to smoke in the company of my art director friend and an egoistic bitch as my boss are very strong reasons to quit a job.

I got into Idiom through my Art Director friend at the previous company, which incidentally is mentioned in the previous paragraph. Idiom was a design house and coincidentally, I was the only copywriter. Reminded me of Studio Smile. That did not augur too well. After two days of naming shoe stores and shopping malls, and free lunch, I vanished.

After a month of unemployment and poverty, I joined OpusCDM. Here I met Nagesh Manay, the finest copywriter and the finest boss I had ever worked under. I did advertising campaigns, hunted for models, attended parties, and lived a dream. But it was indeed too good to be true. I was partly responsible for changing it into a nightmare. I spent more time at home than at work during my Opus stint. My boss merely encouraged my habit with a heart as big as the grand canyon. I was in self-destructive mode and self destruct I did. Opus is known for its lack of affinity towards copywriters. For the finest copywriter he was, Nagesh was also the most finicky of them. You don't expect to know a brand in three months as good as a man who has created it 7 yrs ago and seen it go from knees to its feet. He wouldn't understand it though. I stayed at Opus Long enough to claim the title of being the longest staying copywriter. I carried with me a couple of very good ads for my portfolio as I left.

As a result of deciding to quit Opus at midnight, I was again driven to poverty. What next? 270 of them, walk in interviews every other day and a job in a week for anyone who can spell his name right in English - So I joined a call centre. An IBM call centre. I had decided even before joining the place that I wouldn't last beyond the fun days of training and I was a man of my word. A month and I was off. I had just shunned one of the biggest MNCs in the world!

A week after quitting IBM, one of my not-so-favourite colleagues appeared as a messiah informing me about an opening at a small ad agency called Spectrum. I joined without second thought. The interview was a mere formality with tall promises to somebody who had worked at McCann. I threw my weight around, the whole 90+ kgs of my 184cm frame. Right now, I am sitting in front of the computer they have provided me, after facing an intellectual masturbation session by my boss, eagerly awaiting the result of the interview I have given just the day before. The intentions are quite clear, aren't they? ;)