“And the Terbium Metal Award for outstanding services to the Advertising Industry goes to…”, said Mark Avignon, the last recipient of the honour at the Salzburg International Advertising Awards. For a second, there was complete silence in the 5000-seat Baroque styled Amphitheatre which stood proudly in the world heritage site that was Salzburg. With the silhouette of the Alpine backdrop in sharp contrast to the bright lights of the festival, there couldn’t have been a better venue for such a prestigious award. There was tension in the air, but there was only one man in the crowd who sat with a quiet confidence. In fact, he knew he’d be taking home the award this year the minute he was left out of the jury for the honorary position he’d served since the inception of the Terbium Awards five years back. “The man’s going to win.”, said Jiju Joseph, a senior Indian creative. “And at 29, he’ll be the youngest Terbium winner by a distance”, the veteran declared.
“HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?” shouted Akash Mehta, a 36-year old Creative Director at AHV Advertising. “Walkesh, you were expected to be at the client’s place now, presenting your campaign. But here you cluelessly sit, without a care in the world. Now we have been given one more chance. And I cannot have you Screw it up again. So get of your fuckin’ arse and GET WORKING!”
“Huh!”, said Walkesh. He turned to see Akash breathing down his neck over a deadline that was safely missed. Just like several others that happen every other day. “Well…err…there’s an idea that's brewing in my head…”, he whimpered. “YES! I can see how keen you are on seeing the job completed. Can you at least name the project that we are currently discussing? Which has already reached a critical state?”
Walkesh looks helplessly at Somdev - his art partner - hoping to find a clue. But like a student who is desperately guessing to achive a pass mark in his viva voce, the dreamy copywriter mentally scans through his joblist. “I know, I know. It’s regarding the Ebony Shampoo press ad right? I’m working on the headline.”
Akash and Somdev nearly suffer a haemorrhage each on hearing Walkesh’s response. “He was referring to the New Generation School pitch.” said Som, trying to gain a rare brownie point with Akash. “And thank you for reminding us of how late you were on the Ebony Shampoo ad”, clarifies Akash, who was forced to wrap up that blasted press ad the week before when the client threatened to part ways with his agency unless he stepped in.
“Please join me in welcoming the Creative Tycoon, Walkesh Mitter”, said the pretty emcee, as several young students jumped from their seats to get a closer view of the man who revolutionised the communication industry with his radical concepts in Integrated Marketing and Communications. The applause was deafening. And it only stopped when Walkesh raised his hand deftly, like a virtuoso conductor.
“Well, I thank you all for the kindness that you have showered on me. But in all honesty, I don’t think very greatly of my work.” Murmurs in the crowd, some appreciative of the man’s modesty, others critical of his false-modesty. “You see, I have spent considerable time to further develop those ideas that have given me all the fame and honour. And those very ideas that have brought me to this stage, will be rendered void when I unveil my new set of ideas.” The murmurs grow louder. But Walkesh raises his hands once more. “That, ladies and gentleman, is one of the best learnings I’ve received in the fortunate career I’ve enjoyed. You have to be the best judge of your own work, and irrespective of what the world thinks of your work, you have to find ways of constantly elevating your own work to a higher standard. Even if its original form brings you all the laurels you’ve dreamed of. That, in my opinion, is the essence of a creative career, and more importantly, a creative life.” Another deafening applause follows. Once more, Walkesh raises his hand characteristically.
“ Yes, Mr. Mitter. You seem to be a little too keen on offering your views on the recruitment scene in the Banking industry during the economic slowdown?” said Amit Joshi, who headed the HR of Global Bank of India. Walkesh looks at all the amused faces of the client, Akash and Som around him, much like a man who suddenly fell into the room when the roof gave away. “ Well…Sir, I was just hoping you’d help us summarise the problem we were discussing…” A few frustrated heaves follow. Walkesh’s colleagues seem a little concerned with his request. Joshi on the other hand is adamant. “So Mitter, which part of our hour-long discussion didn’t you follow?” In what was perhaps the greatest act of collective Harakiri in the corporate world, Akash jumps to the rescue. “Amit! Let me reiterate. As the agency, it is your belief that our creative team should have been a little more specific with the last recruitment ad for the Managing Director of GBI.”
The half balding client nearly pulled apart his modest mane on hearing a half-baked justification from the Creative Director. Mockingly making air quotes, Amit retorts, “I think calling it a little more specific is putting it a little too mildly. How do you explain a recruitment ad for a Managing Director without ever mentioning the words “Managing Director” even a single time in the ad? And whats worse, your great writer has the nerve to ask me to summarise this for him!! Are we wasting our marketing budget on retards like Mr Mitter here? Mr. Mehta, I'll refuse to pay for this ad. And I demand a fresh ad immediately.”
After being shown the door after much agony, the Creative Director finally exhausts his emotional reserves and gives Walkesh a whack on his head. “This is the last time I’ll ever try to defend you. I thought I saw your worst this morning, but your incompetence can take you far lower than I can ever imagine. Here, let me pat your back once more,” said Akash sarcastically, before taking out his anger on Walkesh’s back.
“They have no idea about my abilities”, thought Walkesh as he returned to office. “I’ll make them regret their words when they finally see what conspires in the great mind of Walkesh Mitter. Now what was this great brief about?" said Mitter, more as a reminder to himself than anything else.
“Rarely, have we the luxury of recognising the efforts of a man so overqualified to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Let us take a moment to remember the great contributions of Walkesh Mitter. Communications pioneer. Writer par excellence. And a fine human being.” Said a septuagenarian in a dour tone, as a one minute biopic highlighted the accomplishments of Walkesh Mitter. As the film comes to an end, the audience start clapping respectively and give a white-haired Walkesh a standing ovation. As he receives the trophy, Walkesh patiently waits for the audience to stop clapping before he begins, “It has been my belief that Man can achieve a great many things if he is only given his right to dream. And I have only committed myself to fight for this cause. Because nothing in god’s world should stop a man from his right to dream?” He then lifts his prize aloft as the audience start applauding.
“DAY DREAMING AGAIN, YOU IDIOT?” Shouts Akash, as Walkesh drops the pen he was holding high up in the air.