It‘s a quirky world full of inscrutable clients, unrealistic deadlines and unpredictable bursts of energy, advertising is.
Presenting tongue-in-cheek peeks at life in media as it exists in India. We would also welcome such and similar thoughts that you would like to see featured in this column. Feel free to pen in your own take to    


Matchday: An event when the men in blue walk out to defend the pride of the nation. However, the effects on the economy are far less inspiring for this is an occasion where the balance working class finds a minefield of avenues to discover more "legitimate" reasons to indulge in our favourite corporate sport - the art of hurdling deadlines.

"Today is the day of the match, deadlines you will find extremely hard to catch."

The hushed oriental tone, the express delivery of the tea cup in Ram‘s hand and the disappearance of Chai-La (the mystical Chinese canteen boy) along the seam of the cricket ball on the conference room table and the ensuing turbulence that caused a slight "in swing" of sorts set the ball in motion. Vikas, as always, being one to pride himself on "being on the ball," grabbed it with alacrity, and gently thumped it on the table diverting all eyes in the room his way.

"What were you saying Dharti?" he enquired of the strategic planning head of the agency, a woman whose intellectual and aesthetic content demanded undivided attention in most cases.

Dharti, who usually indulged Vikas‘s charm (for some strange reason), was clearly a little strained. Her beautiful eyes radiated an anger that Ram found quite mesmerising.

"What does it matter? I have been repeating myself hoarse over the last thirty minutes, and I might as well have been talking about Vedic virtues to men wandering in a strip joint. Where are your minds? We are gathered here to create a crises ad for Mr Bose‘s new product launch tomorrow and all you men seem to be in a different galaxy. Really, Mr Bose, I am surprised at your lack of interest as well."

Mr Bose seemed oblivious of the allegations thrown his way. His eyes were transfixed elsewhere, as were Vikas‘ and PP‘s (the creative director of the outrageous moustache fame). Even the normally erudite Planimus (the gladiatorial media planning head) was replicating the involvement pattern of a three-year old child learning the alphabet in class when there is an ice cream vendor displaying his fares outside the window.

Then, as most males would testify, sometimes reflex just takes over and in one such "reflexive" moment, for reasons most of those blessed with the Y chromosome can never quite articulate, Ram picked up the remote lying near him and switched on the TV.

Immediately, the men in the room uttered a grunt of such frenetic ecstasy that companies that made products in the area of sexual gratification instantly perked up their ears.

"Today, Dada will show them," began Mr Bose.

"Yeah, but we need to keep tabs on the run rate at all times," boomed PP, twirling his whiskers upwards in a moment of national pride.

"And we need a good opening stand," started Planimus.

"You know we have won 75 per cent of the time against this opposition when we bat first, and of that percentage nearly 90 per cent comes when we defend under lights."

That was Vikas, espousing statistics in a manner which was quite unlike him and made him look like a completely different person, though Ram more readily attributed that to the ridiculous haircut that his boss had just undergone a few days earlier.

Dharti grabbed the remote and shot a reprimanding look in Ram‘s direction that made his heart sink to the abysmal depths of the intellectual content of a typical coffee chat show.

"You can‘t remember there is a launch tomorrow and yet you can rattle off inconsequential numbers that have no relevance to your life whatsoever," she began, in a rare case of taking off on Vikas.

Vikas shot back an extremely pained look her way, like a puppy that was being told off for chasing his favourite bone (ok any bone).

"No, no, he has said something that is really important," interjected PP, to the astonishment of everyone in the room, even the trophy statues that were turned to look his way, because this was a rare event.

PP supported Vikas about as frequently as top stars accepting their trophies in Bollywood award functions rendered their thanksgiving speeches in Hindi.

"What?" began a stunned Dharti, echoing everyone‘s feelings, when something happened on the TV screen that caused the room to erupt in a passionate frenzy.

"That was a bad decision."

"This entire series is fixed."

"This is all a part of their mind game strategy, everyone is involved. But if we rebuild, there is still time to turn the match."

Women are gifted with immense clarity at all such moments. Being a top specimen of her representative species (from the male perspective), Dharti turned off the TV at that instant.
(The expletives that followed have been censored by the editor.)

"When the match takes a critical turn, all will recede in importance, you will learn."

The cup of tea with the wise conundrum again were transported Ram‘s way, courtesy Chai-La, even as he ‘disnumbered‘ into the statistics chart of the next batsmen coming in, for Vikas had aggressively pulled back the remote and switched on the TV again.

"We need to probably borrow a few ideas from watching the match. Maybe, there will be a spark which will happen as we watch India combat a difficult position."

"What if they fail?" asked Dharti with clinical clarity.

"Then we simply can‘t think today," shot PP with such emphasis that the batsman on the screen actually left the next ball alone.

"Mr Bose, what do you think of the situation?" asked Dharti in an increasingly incredulous tone.

Mr Bose‘s eyes were watching the TV screen with unwavering focus. "It‘s too tight to call right now, maybe if we see off the next five overs."

Dharti planted herself in front of the TV screen, as a roar of dissent went across the room.

"Mr Bose, I was asking what your opinion was given that your launch is tomorrow and that your agency team needs to concentrate on the match for inspiration."

Mr Bose jockeyed for position, squirming in his chair so that he could see beyond Dharti, given his size it was a bit like watching a hippopotamus try the lambada.

"Ah!" he began and then someone hit a boundary.

All the men in the room exchanged high fives and bonded like they had been life-long friends who had just simultaneously won the state lottery.

"You never bowl to him there, 73 per cent of the time he will flash and flash safely. And when he swings his bat, he usually makes contact 82 per cent of the time, so it‘s a near sure boundary," commented Vikas with mathematical magnanimity.

PP and Planimus shot looks of brotherly affection his way (I repeat, PP and Planimus). Even Mr Bose acknowledged his expertise with an indulgent grunt.

Dharti tried to call the house to order throwing her own statistic into the mix.

"If we continue like this we are 100 per cent likely to miss the deadline."

That brought a few murmurs amongst the men. They huddled together and whispered words like secret passwords.

PP rose from the huddle. "It is decided. We four will work in here and use the match as a springboard for ideation whereas you and Ram can work in the other conference room. Just look at all the past work and you can conceptualise a few ads; it should be simple really."

"And what if nothing we create is good enough or rings true with the consumer, or is relevant to the current situation?" enquired a feisty Dharti.

"Then…," began Vikas.

"Then we will postpone the launch," ended Mr Bose without taking his eyes off the TV screen. "Now let‘s begin work, we need to watch this next over very closely."

Dharti stormed out of the room like a departing hurricane (yeah they are all named after women, aren‘t they?)

"I am not going to lift another finger on this project. Just send the underling to me with what he has conjured up, any case I know we will be working on it tomorrow."

Vikas made a trademark gesture with his eyes which Ram so hated. It said "time to step out and work"; all the others merely waved sympathetic hands in his direction. Any guy leaving the room with the match interestingly poised deserved sympathy.

As he left the room, he could hear liberal advice being dispensed the batsmen‘s way. "Play with a little more responsibility, you fool" was one such volley."

Ram smiled to himself as he entered the adjoining conference room and began pulling out old ads from the archives.
"Don‘t expect tea easily today because I want to see the match will go which way."

For once the tea cup was empty and Ram watched forlornly as Chai-La disappeared through the key hole into the conference room with the TV.

The writer is an idependent strategic & ideation consultant. He is also the patron saint of Juhu Beach United, a football club that celebrates the "unfit, out of breath media professional of today." You can write to him at (

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

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