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On a serious note: This piece is purely a work of fiction and is not intended to hurt anyone, especially my most valuable clients because of whom, I am what I am today. This is a small light-hearted critique to humour the reader (if at all I can) and is not a real life situation that I have ever faced or heard.

As the number of COVID-19 cases dropped in my Gandhinagar city to a paltry 2-3 numbers a day, I could muster enough courage to visit my favourite ‘Ganne ke juice (raas) wala’. Bunged on the three sides, entry restricted, by permission only, this tapri (galla) was covered with every possible net available in the market, this gannewala is always very hygienic and allows only couple of makhkhis (flies that appear on the bottle of HIT spray) to sit on his ganna machine for a few nanoseconds (anything that does not cause COVID-19 was not in my ‘hazardous to health’ list right now). Sitting under the shade of a magnolia tree on an Asian Paint ka badda dabba at 9 am on a sunny Sunday morning, I felt comforting and satisfying that I could finally have the sweet-as-a-sugar juice for the first time in this entire FY21 and FY22 contd.

While the gannewala was industriously going through his motions, I was stuck with the word ‘juice’!

I was waiting momentarily for him to make fresh ganne ka juice, all of a sudden, this gannewala started to look like a client of an advertising agency and the ganna machine as his workforce; his sinews of steel. As he was flexing his muscles, poor ganna (that is the advertising agency) was about to get sucked out of every drop of its juice (aka khoon pasina). Initially it was a smooth ride for the ganna, where the ganna juices (campaign in making) flow likes a freeway and then suddenly, there were Indian hallmark potholes on the road. Something terrible was going to happen during the drive.

Ganna was being folded in to two layers and then half a piece of lemon (that perennial calamitous so-called consultant. Of what? God only knows) was added in-between the layer. The onslaught had just begun. Then the ganna was quickly folded in to four layers and a piece of ginger (younger son or daughter of the MD, who just post-graduated from some expensive but hopeless college in Umbrica) was added to cultivate his/her videshi and in-sync-with-the-world flavour to the ganna juice; which was already turning in to some heady concoction (final campaign in the making).

Just about when the ganna thought that the days of misery were over, the gannewala folds it into eight goddamn layers and shoves it in to its machine; the workforce (a committee of geniuses from diverse backgrounds at all levels in the hierarchy. Who then try to shred the ganna apart every inch of the way with their divine sense of consumer and creative observation and logic). Arey baba, they have to say something na to justify their salaries and their time at work.

Finally when the agency thought that the creatives are approved (as in the juice has finally made its way to the glass), poor ganna juice is struck with an Icelandic thunderstorm. Barrage of ice was shoved over the already f****d up concoction. This barrage is basically a mix of client’s PR, event management, celebrity management, digital agencies and a couple of KIA (know-it-all) friends; who are obliged to render their services pro-bono as the only and true brand virtuosi to the client.

What started as making of a pure, unadulterated, ingenious juice (original campaign, something that was TG relevant) was now turned in to a whore of an aftermath.

Chalo koi nahi, aab toh khatam hua. Sab apne apne ghar jao aur so jao.

Yede, picture abhi baaki hai. Ruk na.

Arey, you all forgot the mischievous masala na? It was so desperately waiting to be sprinkled on the ganna juice. Now this masala is an entirely new breed of Homo sapiens, completely anonymous to the agency till the point of time they thought that their campaign was finally ratified.

This is when the juice, the potion, the concoction is shared with the entire khandan of the client on their family WhatsApp group named ‘Harkishandas Prabhatdas Kantidas Khandan’ with a DP of Parbhatdas standing in front of a Rolls-Royce ‘Phantom’.

And the hell literally breaks loose. Everyone from the khandan is now is busy working out the right formula for the already f****d-up juice. An archetype saali, bua, fufa, mausa, bhatija, 2 years’ old tilloo, Kantidas dada (who is on his dying bed), dadi (who has already expired last year, but khandan forgot to remove her from the list), Ramnarayan driver, Banwari maharaj, Samsher Singh chowkidar, (you never know where the ideas can pop up from), Tiger the maltipoo, Gooblu the popat… all will advocate their expert remedy to make this juice more appealing to the TG.

Final bugle (the clarion call) for the khandan and the agency standoff…

Khandan: Does the colour of the sky have to be blue always? | Senapati of the agency: Sir, but it is an actual shot of greenscape against the backdrop of a clear blue afternoon sky (Remember, we had to wait for so many days to get the clear blue sky?). | Khandan: Thik hai, par phir bhi; dekho kya ho sakta hai.

Khandan: Can we not have an Indian face? | Senapati of the agency: Sir, but there are no human beings in the campaign. | Khandan: Thik hai, next time human face rakho to yeh cheez yaad rakhna.

Senapati of the agency resigns after this.

Khandan: Can we not have few options of the background? | Vazir of the agency: But sir, there is no background; the campaign only has end-to-end photograph in each of the advertisement. | Khandan: Thik hai, par background ke bina mazaa nahi aa raha hai.

Khandan: Text has to be bigger; what if an aged person is reading it? | Vazir of the agency: Sir, but our TG is between 25-45 years. | Khandan: Arey, what if Kantidas dada wanted to read it?

Khandan: There is too much text; no one reads so much of text. | Vazir of the agency: Sir, but it has less than 30 words of copy. | Khandan: Aapko nahi pata chal raha hai; we just need one dhansu line so that the TG is compelled to buy our product.

Vazir of the agency commits suicide from the 1st floor.

Khandan: Pardadaji ka photograph nahi hai campaign mei? | Raja of the agency: Sir, it will look awfully out of place. | Khandan: It is his money; it is his empire, right? His photu has to be there, has to be there and has to be there. And yes, make sure it is prominent.

Khandan: Logo badddaaa…karna chahiye? Yes, karna chahiye. Logo bada kar

Raja of the agency: @$$*&^%&^()*_)()()&*^%#@$@ Ek kaam karo, is campaign (aka juice) ko aapni…

Raja of the agency leaves his kingdom for Himalayas.

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