The next volume I paid my respects to, in my efforts to further my advertsing career was the Bangalore telephone directory. In an hour I had a list of names and numbers of considerable length, which recommended very strongly a trip to a public telephone booth. Ogilvy, Lintas, McCann, Chaitra, Contract, Mudra, Ulka, Enterprise, Trikaya Grey… So right foot first, I ventured forth flexing my fingers in preparation for the task at hand.
I dialed. Precious seconds were consumed as a recorded voice whispered sweet nothings in my ear. I waited for the operator, ignoring the strain on my wallet. The list of agencies that I planned to call was starting to get shorter. And then she spoke.
“Ogilvy and Mather. Good morning”.
I prayed it would be.
“May I speak to the Creative Director please?”
“Who’s calling?” she asked sweetly.
An ‘duh’ silence followed while I pondered over the magnetic properties of my handle. I held my hand over the receiver and said it aloud. Manoj Jacob. And very quickly arrived at the conclusion that it was hardly likely to cut even the smallest portion of ice. So I started measuring my options.
A) A nondescript Malayalee with a nondescript name.
B) Aspiring copywriter. (I would have liked to try ‘perspiring’, but I wasn’t sure the receptionist would get it. And if she didn’t, neither would I.)
C) I’m the guy who’s going to make it Ogilvy, Mather and Jacob.
D) I’m good with words you see. I failed in every subject but English.
E) Manoj Jacob.
I picked E.
A) Oh I’m not calling from anywhere, but I’d like to have someplace to call from, and that’s why I’m calling.
B) A telephone booth.
“Jayanagar”, I said.
“Please hold on.”
I didn’t just hold on. I hung on for dear life. The call was transferred. And on the phone came the Creative Director’s secretary.
Or as I was to discover, the Great Barrier Grief.