I first met her at Clarion Bombay in the mid 80's, when I was an Account Supervisor on Hamam toilet soap, then a TOMCO brand. Mrs Sinha, as we all referred to her, was an extremely powerful personality.
We heard that the "Coca Cola" lady would be coming to help us on Hamam.
Mrs Sinha declared that what Hamam required was a relaunch. We were surprised at her energy levels, her clear cut strategic thinking and her vast experience and knowledge on all aspects of advertising... be it packaging, design, the jingle, or sales figures and ORG (market share) data. She was clear cut and to the point.
My second stint was at Tara Sinha Associates Delhi which was literally her baby. Here her demeanor was a little different. She was more approachable,more affable.
One trait of hers, which all servicing people were petrified of, was her habit of making last minute changes in the presentation, sometimes just a few hours before the presentation. Remember, those were the days of carousel slide presentations. However, nobody had the courage to tell her that time was limited and the changes could not be made. It was an unwritten rule that you did not tell Mrs Sinha that this cannot be done.
So each time, bending over our back, we would somehow manage to make changes and still present on time. Mrs Sinha rewarded us by always being supportive of the team and backing us to the hilt. Somehow, when she came along for presentations one was always sure and confident that things would go our way. I have the highest regard for her acumen in understanding the advertising world.
I had the most amazing experience of working with her and Gerson D'Cunha on a campaign in which we had to deal with ministers. It was amusing to watch her trying to communicate with them in her anglicised Hindi, but somehow she managed to get her point across to them and that too successfully.
I remember driving her in my Fiat to a party venue for a surprise birthday party that we had organised for her. All along I maintained that there was a Nestle meeting at the venue. She was truly touched at seeing the entire McCann Delhi office assemble to celebrate her 60th birthday.
I loved her sense of style and strong personality. She never ever discriminated on gender. Imagine we women did not face any gender bias then and I believe to think it was because of Mrs Sinha.
Mrs Sinha was a towering personality and will always remain so.
(The author was an account director at Tara Sinha Associates, that later became Tara Sinha McCann Erickson and subsequently McCann Worldgroup.)
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