An encounter on the fence

The procrastinator - a tribute to those who convert the fine art of taking a simple decision into a 52-episode soap opera (pending DD approval and that‘s a saga in itself).These sorts can be easily identified because of their extremely salient walking style. Modified to accommodate the excess protection that they need to wear to protect the more tender parts of their anatomy, when they sit on the fence.
PS - Given that this article has taken me over two months to write, maybe I am one of these…God! That explains the strange looks people give me when I walk by

"Ancient Chinese wisdom. Progress your job to the point at which you‘re superior has to take a decision. Then apply for long leave without fear."

The words of wisdom delivered in a hushed oriental accent, the lightning quick delivery of the teacup and Chai-La (the mystic Chinese canteen boy) had vanished into a decision diamond on the process flowchart that Ram was creating.
His chart making endeavors were brought to a rude halt by a thunderclap delivered to his back with the impact on an Undertaker ‘Clothesline‘.

"How are things? Under control I hope." Vikas (Ram‘s painfully cherubic boss) doing his summary early morning job status session that moved little beyond the thunderclap.

"Not really Vikas. I need a few decisions from you," replied Ram in right earnest.

Few words could take the color of Vikas‘s face faster than ‘your ex-girlfriend has been waiting at the reception all morning.‘ One of those was ‘decision‘.

"Hmmm" he murmured with remarkable composure for someone facing his nemesis.

"Can‘t these be taken later? I am on a very tight schedule today."

"No the job might get delayed."

"Can‘t you take them?"

"I am too junior to decide on such major issues." For once Ram liked the sound of that.

"Why don‘t you send a mail to everyone on the team so that we can get a consensus? I think that PP should be involved as well." PP was the creative director and the only thing in the world that Vikas hated more than taking a decision.

"Don‘t involve me in your servicing matters" boomed a voice from behind them, momentarily changing the orbits of some broadcasting satellites, thus freezing in mid-sentence the American President delivering a speech on CNN (alas only momentarily).

PP stood behind them, nursing his trademark moustache with almost pet like fondness. "Mujhe kahan phasa raha hain. Kabhi to kaam kiya kar," he continued, eyeing Vikas with the kind of contempt usually reserved for non-Star Wars fans, who have sneaked into the premier.

"This issue involves you as well boss. Client I‘m sure will ask for a consolidated opinion from the agency," quipped Vikas, eyes darting furtively from summer trainee to summer trainee (that‘s why it‘s called spring fever).

"OK. Tell me what is the issue?" asked PP, with an evil glint in his eye.

When faced by their nemesis, people tend to forget the basics. Say for example, you suddenly had to confront a tiger barehanded in your dreams; you would use up most of your efforts trying to figure out where the tiger‘s Achilles heel lay, forgetting the most basic premise - that this was after all a dream (try that it works).

Vikas was in a similar such state. Much as he tried to ask himself, what the issue being addressed was, his mind drew a blank. In the panic of hearing the word ‘decision‘ being thrown in his direction, he had instantly put up his force fields, not knowing what the danger was in the first place.
Vikas‘s silence told PP volumes.

He burst out into thunderous laughter, again realigning the aforementioned satellites and causing David Beckham to miss yet another penalty (someone had changed the channel to ESPN).

"What a guy. He doesn‘t even know what he needs a decision for," choked PP, in between peals of laughter, using all people possible who were in his vicinity for support. "Well it‘s better than not knowing where to lift your next idea from." PP‘s laughter dried up with the speed of a patient leaving a dentist‘s clinic. There was world war three on the horizon but the situation was diffused by the appearance of the President.

"I say fellows, what was all that laughter about?" he remarked in his jolly manner. PP and Vikas were still not done with looking daggers at each other. As the President turned to Ram, he felt compelled to answer.

"We were just …"

"Looking for you because some decisions needed to be taken," completed Vikas, never one to let such a glorious opportunity slip by.

"Of course what else is there to do at this level?" continued the President in his magnificently inspiring manner and before anyone could respond the sheer momentum of his statement had carried him to another city for a new business presentation.

"Hmm that was that," murmured Vikas, feeling the noose tighten again.

"All you servicing types are the same," said PP and stormed out of vicinity.

Vikas beamed for once at a PP remark. Any mention in conjunction with the President pleased him no end.
"Vikas, we still need to decide." Ram‘s innocent query brought him crashing down.

"Yes. Of course," replied Vikas trying to sound nonplussed.
"What decision do I have to take anyway?" asked Vikas

Ram paused to gather breath.

"Three months ago we had a focus group research on some concepts (refer article 3 in this series on the site archive), what emerged was that some people were applying our cream, that essentially is for ‘itches of the loin‘ variety, on their faces and were actually experiencing dramatic results. The client, Mr Bose wanted us to evaluate whether the brand needs to be repositioned. We need to develop creatives basis the new positioning and catch releases starting three days from today."

Vikas‘s heart started beating so hard that most people began to think that it was a new ring tone.

"Why didn‘t you tell me earlier?"

"I did. But you always told me arrange for a meeting and then kept pushing it."

"Let me mail the client asking him a few questions. Knowing Bose never checks his mail regularly we can always turn around and say he never responded."

"Mr Bose has already sent us a mail stating that you shall send no such mail to him."

"Hmmmmmm," sighed Vikas with the realization of a man whose sins had caught up.

"So what should we do?" asked Ram.

"Have you asked Bose what his take on this is?"

"He was clueless even then, which is why he has squarely placed the ball in our court and asked us to evaluate and take a considered decision," Ram could scarcely believe the words that were coming out of his mouth, though he was revelling in it.


"How do you want to take the decision? Should we evaluate the pros and cons of both approaches? Do I need to do a quick dipstick in the market?"

Vikas was sullenly silent. Lost to the mortal world.

"Shall I arrange for an internal brainstorm?"

Vikas‘s battle trained senses then began to kick in. Ram could see his eyes begin to flicker with an almost eerie light.

"We wait till the 17th of the month."

"But today is the 13th and that is a while away."

"Chief, never take major decisions on the 13th. Always bad for the agency."

"But what about the releases?"

"Postpone them by a week. Tell Mr Bose that our research is still on and he will have to wait, besides you know my philosophy always do major things on days that have some element of 7 in them. And 17th is the closest. Seven is heaven man."

"But Mr Bose will *#$@ my happiness…."

But Vikas had already glided away from Ram and made his way towards the lobby for ‘an important client meeting‘.

Ram sat at his desk, eyes transfixed on the computer trying to figure out what he could put down on mail to explain the situation to Mr Bose. But words failed him.

"Old Chinese Proverb-you can point out a man who will never take a decision by his walk. Like he has chopsticks stuck between his vitals and chili sauce smeared in all the wrong places" the high oriental chuckle as the teacup nestled in Ram‘s hands and Chai-La vanished into an innocent by standing light saber.

Ram paused to look up from the computer to spot Vikas lumbering rather oddly towards the elevator.

"May the farce be with you." Ram said to himself with a sly smile.

After stints at Lowe, Mudra and Everest, the author is now with Triton as Associate Vice President Brand Services. In addition to that, he is also patron saint of Juhu Beach United - a movement that celebrates obesity and the unfit ‘out of breath‘ media professional of today. To join up contact

(The views expressed here are those of the author and need not necessarily subscribe to the same)

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