The trigger for this post is a lunch I had on Saturday with a friend from a production house. How come we write so much about Bang Bang Films and Roopak Saluja, she asked?
Now let me rewind a few days. It’s Thursday. We’ve sent out normal issue to print on Tuesday night, as we have every second Tuesday night since September 2007. On time is a wonderful thing.
It’s Thursday, but this is a different Thursday as we have to go to press with a special supplement that we’re doing on Piyush Pandey, to be released at the AAAI event to felicitate him. Most of the material is in, but we’re waiting for inputs from Tham Khai Meng and Ranjan Kapur. Khai and I have tried and failed to do this on the phone, thanks to bad connections and to time zone differences. Ranjan is travelling and not accessing his mails.
I plan to start getting the issue together post-lunch. Lunch is at Hard Rock as it’s a colleague's birthday, so the Campaign India team is out celebrating. Birthdays are such a wonderful thing.
Come back to office, ready to start the issue, and I learn from my colleague Jim that Shantanu Bhanja from the Hindustan Times is in town. We go to meet him and discuss media developments over a coffee. No business is discussed. We talk about the economics of low circulation niche titles, of the Mumbai newspaper market, of the iPad, of the Malayala Manorama pay strategy on the net, of crosswords in the HT with mismatched clues. Dangling conversations are such a wonderful thing.
Back to the office, check mail. Nothing from Khai or Ranjan yet. Start putting the issue together. It’s a lovely issue, with Sir Martin Sorrell writing the editorial for us. It took a few of his colleagues and many e-mails and calls to make sure it happens, but it does. Late at night, I get calls and mails from Khai’s colleagues, he’s just finishing the piece. It’s midnight by the time it comes. We set the page. Half an hour later, I get a mail saying Khai is sending a fresh photograph. It arrives. A few minutes later, I get a mail saying Khai is sending a new version of the piece as he’s not quite satisfied with the earlier version. The new one arrives. Attention to detail is a wonderful thing.
It’s almost 3.00 am when I leave the office. Need to be at the airport by 10.00 am to receive my brother-in-law, Harish Vasudevan of Enfatico, who’s flying in from Singapore to attend the Piyush event. Piyush is an old friend of Harish's. Friendship is a wonderful thing.
Harish arrives and we talk about cabbages and kings, and then we do a long, beery lunch at Moti Mahal in Bandra. A beery lunch is a wonderful thing.
A nap, then a shower, and we go to the event, reaching there by 7.30 pm, the time on the invitation card. On time, as Indigo, W+K and Bang Bang tell us, is a wonderful thing.
We leave the event and go to Goa Portuguesa at about midnight; catch a couple of Old Monks and dinner. Old Monk is a wonderful thing.
Tea with Harish and he leaves for the airport. I take a rickshaw to Salt Water Grill for breakfast with Ravi Kiran and his wife and Seema Mohapatra from the BBC. Lots of conversation, no business conducted. Bump into Haresh Chawla and his wife and into Prashant Singh and his wife Preeta Sukhtankar. Leisurely Saturday breakfasts are a wonderful thing.
Get home and off to Juhu, where Mail Today has an interesting badminton and table tennis event for media and advertising professionals. Meet Suresh Balakrishnan and Devesh from Mail Today. Spend some time with Lodestar’s Nandini Dias and Mindshare’s Ravi Rao, who’re both playing badminton. TBWA’s Nirmalya is at the TT room. Devesh and I talk about an aborted project over a cigarette, and the project is born again. Cigarettes and conversation is a wonderful thing.
And then I meet the friend for lunch, the friend who asks me about Bang Bang and Roopak and why they make the news so often.
It’s because Roopak puts in a lot of hard work to make sure his company is in the news. The same way Piyush and Lorraine Martin put in a lot of hard work to ensure that the Campaign India supplement on Piyush was a winner. The same way we struggled with time zone differences and bad phone lines to make sure Khai’s piece was in, on time. The same way four people were in mail conversations to ensure Sir Martin’s piece was in. When you read about someone or a company, the piece didn’t happen as an act of God. Lots of people put in a lot of hard work to make certain things happen. We need the hard work of a Sir Martin, of a Roopak Saluja, of a Ravi Kiran, of a Seema Mahapatra, of a Devesh, of anyone we write about. Working hard is a wonderful thing.