Interviews

BANG IN THE MIDDLE of harassment!

Year 1999

Beginning of a new step towards achieving my dream, a fresh start in the world of writing. Bingo! I have finally cleared the copywriting test at the Agency with GREY SHADES OF CREATIVITY. I am so very looking forward to meet the creative director Mr. PS. Fast forward to the interview where I wait for half an hour. Busy Mr.PS, I am so lucky to get few minutes. My mind is thinking of the best ads I saw, my mother’s advice, ‘Don’t be nervous’. Here, he comes, so very much like what I want to be. He gives me a glance tries to recall my name as I greet him. I follow him in his cabin I am so star struck. Its the happiest moment in my life, “This is it, just be like him.” The interview has begun, my mind is quickly processing all the Miss India kind of answers. He is sitting across me, while explaining something he casually gets up. The conversation jumps to condom advertising and finally his hand lands on my shoulder (while he was going through my portfolio).

First, I am a bit uncomfortable, I give back a stare looking straight into him. He just does not look at me but continues to be completely engrossed in the portfolio of mine as if that was Taj Mahal and I did not exist, but then I tell myself calm down, as my wicked mind is travelling a bit too far. He is the hero remember? He can’t be ugly.

Oh my, my ugly thoughts STOP clouding me with haze now.

He moves away, I am a lot relieved. But droplets of fear cover my forehead and my ears are blazing with heat. This is the closet somebody has dared to get near me.

He gives me an assignment to write a campaign for condom ad. I am a bit confused, but the copywriting test was done and dusted. I inform him, but he insists, Mr. PS disappears only to reappear after a good 20 mins I have still not written anything much impressive.

I write some more lines and he looks at them with the introspection of a monk but he nods in negation.

He is now cribbing, “Youngsters come for internships and can’t write anything that I expect, you have to be trained.”

Post that he asks me to come over to see a sketch he has drawn for the ad and my line is on the top of the layout, while his hand has now reached to a new height of friendliness it is moving on my back clockwise, probably without any navigation!

Oh my, ugly thoughts are now clouding me with haze and fear is griping my spine. I try to concentrate. He is now looking into my face and in a moment there is no distance between the two of us. PS has landed on me and I am completely frozen with my eyes wide open. I try hard to scream but unfortunately I have no voice! He has twisted my hand and grabbed my waist! Gosh! I push him and try to move. He is a bit annoyed and now looks like he owns me.

Few minutes later he is rattling something on ruining my career which in the first place has not started guess he forgot. Run, run run, my mind is shouting in despair while he roars, “Well, looks like you don’t want to go ahead in life! Uttering something in confusion I leave slamming the door.

I am still in a mute mood, because I can’t figure out whether I am dead or alive.

Did this just happen to me? Like what did it break? My faith?

I have raced to the washroom now. This mirror is watching my tears of anger rolling down my face. I look at myself for a moment, wash off the remains of my pink lipstick!

I hate myself. This was a wrong idea to think about advertising career. NO I should not ever work this is a wrong thought as I am totally stupid, I can’t understand people. But as I walked out I told myself you should have HIT him “BANG IN THE MIDDLE” ASS$#*#!

Did I dress so much to meet a weirdo like him? But I managed to save myself, PAT on my back. Leaving this Grey SHADES of agency I hear somebody echoing “PAT” short form of PS!

2012 — My new agency, is just 2 months old. My team and I are at a brainstorming session somewhere in a plush restaurant. I see this, young girl who recently appeared for an interview in the not so Saint like agency where I last worked ( but had to leave in few months) Again the ordeal there was so grave that it sparked the Warrior in me. I see this old guy with grey hair, and beard, behind that wrinkles I recognise him, PS! Google his name just to know that he too started his new venture! AHA the name did not surprise me at all. It is something to do with Banging again, guess that was always the top of his mind. Rightfully named I laugh to myself and walk away.

 

Year 2005

I am working post my pregnancy break. Who hires a woman who has a 8-month old kid. Well a lot of organisations do but the price you pay is just a small one, a compromise on your salary. Yes, I have to pretend its 2003 because thats the last salary I got in advertising and you must pay the price for not working! Bringing up a child brings no addition to your qualification. If you worked in a small agency it is also not taken into account. Well! they are not large enough, no you can’t ever earn enough like a man be thankful that those men hired you, even when with just few years of experience. Be THANKFUL indeed and work 24×7 because now you are on the largest brand and the biggest names in advertising. My workload, well its just nothing. I have to manage one lingerie client, some new projects on a telecom giant, a SUV launch, a real estate launch, a sportswear brand, one government account and also have to prove my mettle on some new pitches. Life is a bit crazy, I have no time left to even have my breakfast or dinner. Ambition is bigger than anything else. All launch is about to be over while the real estate one is a problem child. But who cares? They are paying like hell, however there is no one to work for them. We are managing them somehow, client is also sometimes in the office with their disfigured hair-wigs!

Its already 2-month, working with them and I have developed a rapport with the CEO. My boss is happy he always pushes me with the presentation, this is a great opportunity for me to change my world. I am about to become the most important person, no I am not looking at promotion nor am I looking at doubling my salary. Client CEO calls me, every now and then. We are now discussing about our fitness sessions he compliments me on my great body upon knowing I am a mother already! He is full of admiration on my working life he sends me chocolates as he is about to launch this new brand in the market. We are now discussing less work and more about other things. My boss is even more happy each day with my progress. I am so much like a Rocket Singh now perhaps this is what I wanted to do.

Mind: Slave of your ambition. Its 2 am but in a week its always 10 pm like everyday. Its now 4 months we have one crisis meeting at the site office of this real estate project somewhere near middle of Karol Bagh. Right now, CEO is furious and we have to go now like now. 8 pm we reach. He is making us wait oh so busy!

Hair-wig manager has re-appeared!

We start our presentation all the time CEO is shouting, I am telling myself perhaps he is on some drugs of anger today? The chocolate of sweetness just melted my boss could not make it today, so the creative director,who has little idea about our daily jobs is trying his level best to rectify the situation. More tension on the brochure we did, perhaps account will now go, oh the biggest one perhaps the VP will kill all of us for today. My job will be history soon. The CEO enters, all with his hair-wig manager, who also re-appears with him looking even more angry. We are about to leave I am wrapping up. CEO threatens us all work is shit the only way out is now to make you guys understand properly before the night is over.But for this he says he has to explain me the brief from the beginning since its 10 pm he suggests he will leave me home in his newly acquired BM# car and perhaps that will rectify the situation. I refuse instantly no my home is very far off. He holds my hand puts his revolver beside it. The sweet memory of chocolate gifting is already bitter now. My wicked mind races faster than his BM# car! But here we have a real HERO the one you see in movies — Dada our creative director who bravely crafts an idea faster than the ***TEL campaign he last made, and with original creative lines not only pushed his revolver away by saying, “This kid has to work like a slave today may be tomorrow is better we come back same place same time.” Its a deal finally after an hour of this drama, we are allowed to leave. We move back in deathly silence. Even today that silence is still echoing in my little brain. I resign, next day with a promotion letter in my hand that I had received a week before. DIFFUSION Silence.

 

Year 2007

New place new challenges. Today I have a new phone the latest model. Even higher salary the biggest salary my tiny brain could think about. I have no memories of all the ugly moments. It was all my mistake lets move ahead. Stay Positive Wicked Mind.

Whats on my Mind: She has become a gold digger and a lot colder now. A creative head joins my team as usual life is busy no room for any smiles or laughter. Work, work and work until I am tired. Briefing starts conference room is full of at least 4 men from my team. All men and me. The creative head shakes my hand and squeezes it again ( now a 5th time) since this past one week. I look into his eyes with a deathly calmness and SHOUT,”DON’T SQUEEZE my hand! He screams back, brands me DRAMA QUEEN with a TAG — ATTENTION SEEKER and a GOLD DIGGER!

Now I have no reaction left in my animated face I look at him with a very cold expression and “SAY SORRY or I leave.” I could scare this creative head that day because I was working with a JACKPOT/HERO kind of account.

And together with me the bunch of MEN repeated- Tell her SORRY, man what is wrong with you?

Chorus! loud! METOO loud and clear! NOT sorry for my ordeal and a man is man when he accepts his mistake. Forgiveness starts with acceptance not with forgetting and saying “Its okay.”

By – Jaya Prasad