Friday, May 25, 2007

BE to CD - The first mile

Soon after college, I figured I had to find a way to earn a living. Especially since I came out empty handed. My first job was as a salesman. Selling UPS. Don't remember the brand, but the long hours on the road on a scooter are still quite clear. Door to door I went, politely inquiring about their need for back-up power. Some doors opened, some didn't, some politely closed and others slammed. At the end of the month I got a cheque for 1500 rupees. It wasn't anything to write home about, but at least I wasn't asking Dad to write me a cheque. 1500 covered my monthly expenses - the odd mug of beer, an Eagles audio tape, a book.

This was December 1995, and I was 22.

Three months later I resigned, when I was offered an assignment as a songwriter for an album. The studio at which I had recorded some songs I wrote, recommended me. 300 rupees per song was the deal. I didn't complain. I was writing and being paid for it. That was a start.

The unfortunate part was the songs I had to write. Or translate, as I soon discovered. The singer, a lady from Bangalore, was recording an album in 3 languages - Hindi, Kannada and English. Folk ballads identical in every aspect - tunes, arrangement, instruments used. Only the language changed from one album to the other.

They sounded fine in Hindi and Kannada, but when it came to English it sounded like a recipe for disaster. And to make matters worse, the lady, sweet as she was, had a thick South Indian accent. So when she sang 'love', I heard 'lavu'. And when she went 'heart', it broke mine. The studio sessions were a riot in pronunciation. I didn't know whether to laugh or wince.

Assignment completed, I left wishing I hadn't given them my real name. The credits on the album cover would hurt. The only solace was that these credits usually appeared in super small type tucked away in a remote corner. That would give me enough time to leave the country and change my name. So I made my plans, and waited for the announcement of the release. And thankfully, thus remain my desperate remedies to this day. On hold.

The money I earned carried me for a couple of months. At the end of which I looked for another job. I found one soon enough thanks to a helpful uncle. But nothing changed. I was still selling UPS. And being paid 1500 rupees. Yes, per month.

This time I was a little more resolute. No quitting I told myself, I had to do the long haul. This was perhaps the road to corporate success. So what if I had to ride it on an aging Bajaj Super whose engine died out every 30 km, and woke up only after the fuel jet was extricated and cleaned.

Bravely, I motored on. Only stopping every morning to go through the job pages in the newspaper, in the hope that somebody, somewhere, was looking for someone who could write a decent piece in English.

And then one day I saw it.

"Wanted Copywriter."


SloganMurugan said...

Hunt those tapes down. Have to listen to "Lavu" songs :)

ZV said...

That's really hilarious! Lavu Wonly!

arpana said...

beautifully written .. awesome

Fictitioustruth said...

when is the next post coming up. You cannot start a story and leave the audience hanging for days...

Jo said...

Nice read. Everybody struggles to find a job that he would love to do.

Vidya said...

Hooked to your blog...Post the rest soon!!