A PLACE IN ADVERTISING

                                                                                   -Yugika Mital


Every week at school, we used to have two hours of extra-curricular activities. You name it and it was on the calendar.

I was sitting at the intern’s desk in J. Walter Thompson, Mumbai and my brain just said ‘What will I ever have to do with Advertising?’

I paused. Dug a little deeper; out came a memory that had been forgotten for 7.5 years now.

8th grade. Mock Advertisement for that week’s extra-curricular lessons.

We were divided into teams of eight and I fail to recall the product we were to create a TVC for. I was a very active student in extra-curricular activities but those particular two hours didn’t spark any enthusiasm in me. I chose to be the narrator for public speaking was what I breathed.

That moment, at my intern’s desk, I smiled.

To enter the Advertising industry was never my plan. To enter the Media industry was never my plan. I just liked meaningful communication and honestly didn’t want to succumb to the engineering race. But I didn’t know that I’d find such a satisfying place in this industry.

I understand that I’m simply a student right now who knows nearly nothing about the actual industry. But I know, that I’ve found a balance between what I like doing, am decent at and what I think will fulfil my purpose in life while paying my bills – something I hold necessary from a session at Initiatives of Change, a leadership programme that helps people understand themselves and come face to face with reality.

Advertising is powerful. It is communication that can drive meaningful conversations, influence mind-sets and build brands at the same time. We can’t fathom our lives without the myriad brands, no matter how commercial they are. Advertising puts a name, a feel and a connect between people and brands. They build brands as personalities. They share a hand in shaping the world we live in every day.

Advertising sets trends, it adapts to trends and the industry needs to stay updated to stay relevant. Advertisers, I feel have a voice which can be moulded into an entertaining 30 second story, a thought provoking short ad film, an influential but minimalistic visual, a captivating audio, a tourist destination worthy statue or any other form that you can image. These voices share a role in driving the everyday thoughts and conversations among people.

Advertisers don’t just tell people to buy a brand because it’s good for them. They, now, more than ever, drive conversational commerce. They inspire people to think. That’s the new way to stay relevant that’ll go a long way. They have this unique channel where they can amalgamate entertainment, meaning and commerce together, on one platform. Advertisers create content that might not directly be related to the product/ service their client wants to sell but the way their communication unfolds does wonders.

An idea can come from anywhere and being an advertiser means to make that idea into a bridge between people’s well-being (material and social) and the commerce that drives the way of living.

I may have not known, as a Middle Schooler, that being an Advertiser was an actual profession, a powerful one at that. But now I just want to gather the tools and the knowledge to use this profession to do the best I can. I know I’ve found my place.

Find some interesting advertisements –

A statue of a girl facing the Wall St. Bull is seen in the financial district in New YorkThe Fearless Girl statue by the State Street Global Advertisers, to push businesses to have more females on their boards. Agency – McCann, New York


Rescue Rashie by Westpac Banking Corporation to help save children’s lives by an accidental drowning. Agency – Saatchi and Saatchi, Sydney


eBay’s #ThingsDontJudge campaign that shatters stereotypes in the Indian society. Agency – BBDO, India


Breaking taboos with Stayfree’s Project Free Period. Agency – DDB Mudra, India




                                              THE NEW AND THE FAMILIAR

                                                                                   -Yugika Mital


The taste of independence is addicting. You take responsibility, sometimes you stumble but sometimes you also make yourself proud. You take responsibility for your tasks, decisions, words, the company you keep, the media you are exposed to, time management, the diet you keep and several other things. Once you settle is such a lifestyle, you appreciate it because you created it for yourself. You chose the places where you’d have lunch, the café whose coffee would wake you up, the same streets you’d traverse to reach your college or any other destination, the ways to deal with the local transport – whether to be firm and leave no scope for coyness or just trust the system and get on, manage the monthly expenditure and above all to balance your professional and personal lives.

Such a lifestyle keeps you busy and most get fascinated by it so much that departure seems like an impossible task, even if it is for a short period of time. It’s not like you totally disapprove of the life when the remote control was in the hands of your parents or other elders but the thought of not being that ‘free’ is a little unsettling. The journey is from this place to that is quick – you feel a stream of rush, an amalgamation of excitement and nerve, to see those familiar faces that have possibly aged a tad in the previous 8-9 months and then to know that your ‘independence’ is going to be redefined.

You still hold responsibility for all the things stated above because you are now an adult but did the feeling of coming back to the place where you once started feel a little strange? It was strange because it felt like you never left it in the first place while in reality you had been gone for months. Is it because you had spent nearly two decades of your life there before moving out? The flooring, the smell of the of furniture, the light yellow paint on the walls, the spices that dominated the kitchen and the rooms attached, the windows through which the sunlight lit the room in a particular direction, that one place on the dining table which you always preferred, the items in the fridge– all of it just seemed as warm and welcoming as ever. It seemed you had always been there. It felt like you had just got up from the sleep and now were back. Some might disagree on this thought of unexpected and overwhelming familiarity and that is totally respected. Different places have different feels for everyone. It is not necessary that a place you accustomed yourself to before gives you the exact same sentiment, atmosphere and chord as it did in the past. In this case, you just have to make peace with it, I guess.

The life that we are brought up in and the life that we make for ourselves are not necessarily all different. They are more or less built on the same grounds of basic principles that we have been exposed to. Yes, most definitely we make several and massive amendments in order to adapt, evolve and yet stay grounded and that is a good thing because without it no one would survive. We need to blend in the customs of the place, be it the old or the new because man is a social animal, right? We need to understand the demands of any place we go to and whether it all suits us or not. This in no way is like binding yourself and being too restricted. Freedom and independence are not rightly understood. It is about choice. You have the choice of where you want to go and what you want to be but some basic customs of the place that you choose need to be followed in order to maintain order and peace. It’s like not anyone and everyone can barge into your house and do as they please.

There is always going to be a ‘new’ place and a ‘familiar’ one. It is us who turn the ‘new’ ones into the ‘familiar’ category by making the connection between our independence, freedom and responsibility. We experiment in order to understand what we would prefer in the long run and stagnancy should not be appreciated.  Remember where you come from but keep your eyes to where you want to go. Let your principles guide you when you need them to and be careful what grounds you lay for yourself. Let the ‘familiarity’ be of the good and the memorable before you move on to another ‘new’ place to make it your own.




                                                   TRIGGERED BY HONESTY

                                                                                    -Yugika Mital

It was a pleasant evening. Good company and ice cream. Winter is always a worthy guest. Having finished our flavoured portions, the four of us got into two autos and left to reach the hostel before curfew. You see, we’ve never disregarded hostel rules and didn’t want to do it this time either. The rest is obvious, small talk as we warmed our hands in our pyjama pockets on the way back, the lit up streets of Viman Nagar and the area flooded with students. At the termination of the five minute journey, we completed the monetary transactions for both the rides by paying the decided amount to one of the drivers (as they had asked us to do so in the beginning itself) and the two of us got down at a nearby store to buy some more ice cream for brownies back at the hostel. Yes, it was a pleasant evening indeed. Some small talk again. The other two made their way back to the hostel.

A couple of minutes later, interrupting our conversation, my friend and I noticed two people waving at us, as if in an emergency, from across the street. They were the two auto drivers. Finding it inappropriate, we initially continued our conventional path but as the pace of their waving aggravated and the streets sufficiently crowded and lit up, anticipating that maybe our friends left their belongings behind, we crossed the street. The former driver stepped down the elevated alley and handed us half the amount we had paid him and said that the respective transaction was already completed by our other two companions. It wasn’t a huge amount but the striking factor was undoubtedly, honesty.

No one said that all public transport drivers were bilkers but this act of that person is an example that people who choose to survive with integrity and truthfulness, even during demonitisation, exist. Being honest to your customers is a manner of showing respect to your profession and in this manner your efforts are regarded as much more meaningful. Honesty is not that rare but when you witness it in the most unexpected forms, it sure takes you by surprise and is somewhat successful in keeping your faith towards a credible society alive. Witnessing honesty makes you feel indebted to society and that you must do your utmost in giving people all reasons to believe that being honest is not equivalent to being naïve, even in the 21st century and there are others who shall reciprocate their goodwill. Even if it’s about taking out less than a second from your conversation and saying a simple ‘thank you’ to the aunty or bhaiya who cleaned up your canteen table in college or the shopkeeper who gave you stationery. Goodness towards mankind isn’t that mindless an investment, after all.

Whether one believes in karma or not, honesty is the first step to living a more relaxed life. One that is free from the burden of keeping a note of the manipulated things one had said or done or worse reaching a stage where they didn’t not care anymore. One that allows you to be confident in taking a step because you know you haven’t done anything dishonest to not deserve what you desire. Your truthful actions could at that time encourage someone else to take a more positive approach towards society and is this not how a chain reaction begins? Do not commit honesty expecting others to be always fair because selflessness is something everyone needs to work on. Be honest because it makes the mind light and allows more space and scope for productive thought. Let’s keep it simple because the world is already complicated.

After this experience, it shall be safe to conclude that good people do exist.





                                                                                    -Yugika Mital


If everything was perfect, maybe our lives would be boring. If we had impeccable ideas in the first go, maybe we would trust ourselves too much. Probably if everytime we were certain of our choice, be it for an ice cream flavour or grade 12 course selection, we wouldn’t experience as much. Some experiences petty and short term, others more pressing and having a lost lasting impact. We must understand that most experiences are not solely ours but also of those around us.

The first aspect is learning from others’ experiences. In ‘You Can Win’ by Shiv Khera, it is mentioned that the reason we must learn from the experiences of other people is because we don’t have the time to commit all the mistakes ourselves. Our lives are fleeting and the common good survives on collaboration. However, again, the brilliant species that we are, we think we are exclusive and many a time refuse to take the much needed experiential advice, verbal or otherwise. For instance, it is foolish to stand in an ATM line during these demonetisation days without a bottle of water and some dry snacks considering the scenario of people fainting of exhaustion etc. We fail to learn from observation or just common sense and then blame other beings or worse destiny for our nonfeasance.

On the flip side, the ability to make a call somewhat loses its momentum when we are told success stories of people while we stand on the crossroad. Every person has a story of his own. Do not try and make it your tale of fantasy. Ideas, decisions and events that worked out that individual might not give you the same result. That person probably made things work in his favour. We just hear a tenth of their experiences while countless choices that they made to achieve the awe-inspiring remain unknown to us.  What we can learn from the success stories are perseverance, hard work, positivity, self-respect, consistency and how to deal with the pit falls. Don’t go quitting college because it worked in favour of the revolutionary Steve Jobs.

The next aspect to notice is that experiences and not age establish your respect. With experience gained, your advice becomes more seasoned and appropriate. You might not be an expertise in every area of conflict but experiences give you worldly wisdom and that is where every advice commences. One can’t deprive Malala Yousafzai of her respect for the social work she does just because she’s younger than most others out there. Her experience in her field of work got her the Nobel Peace Prize. With age, yes, more experience is gained but keeping up with the changes in the world and not being blinded with events decades ago is where age and experience take independent lanes. We must learn to fashion our approach towards a person according to his work and soul and not conventional norms alone.

One of the most crucial things is that experiences should not be confused with life. Experiences have variety while it is not necessary that one’s life has considerable variety. Two students, both shall have different degrees both positive and negative experiences. One might be active in co-curricular activities besides performing in academics, his field of experience, thus, shall be richer than someone who focuses just on grades. Ideally, we are told that life should be made of several experiences. This makes perfect sense because life is like an empty fruit basket while experiences are like the variety of fruits that we fill it with. Someone may just want apples, and others may design it with apples, pineapples, oranges, mangoes etc. The more variety you have, the more prepared you are for different occasions and audiences.

Experiences make you stronger than what you were the previous day. It is upon you to fill your basket to its extreme capacity or not and with a variety of fruits or not. Listen to those who headed on the same path as you and learn from their experience when necessary. Experiences are like books one probably will never have the time to read but their momentum is undisputed.




                               TERROR AND CHALLENGE ARE SYNONYMS

                                                                      -Yugika Mital

No matter the inexplicably varied differences of origin, upbringing, beliefs, values, backgrounds among us, we all have one thing in common. We all have been terrified at some point in our lives.

Terrified of confessing the truth,

Terrified of performing live,

Terrified of taking an exam,

Terrified of leaving home,

Terrified of being independent,

Terrified of sitting for that job interview,

Terrified of the first day at work,

Terrified of going to cities different than your friends’,

Terrified of having too much to accomplish in an impossibly short amount of time and,

Sometimes even terrified of growing old.


The point was not to put the ‘general life’ forth you or carve into your mind that ‘terrified’ is a terrifying word. It is rather an enriching one because it is challenging. The most common approach to this thought would be-

‘I could give up, I could stay stuck or I could move on. So I put one foot in front of the other. No, no, nothing’s gonna break my stride.’  (The Other Side of Down by David Archuleta)

However, the experience of being terrified is not only about proving yourself. In fact, that is just a side effect of all the others.

Personally, my relished part of it all is learning. Videos like J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement speech are bound to give you goosebumps and you’ll be equally in awe every time you press the repeat button. These may sound like fairy tales where people like her are ‘horses of the larger probability’ but who told you that you couldn’t be one too?  At that moment when nerve in sinking deep in you, the best you can do is let yourself go so that nerve finds no place to settle. The best you can do is learn. Learn how others overcame it and grasp whatever you can and imply whatever you can.  This is a part of the entire challenge.

The challenge is to measure your seriousness for the task. If it didn’t matter to you, you’d probably give up on it, maximum after the third failure but even Henry Ford had a model T, meaning models A to S couldn’t be any more discouraging.

If being terrified gives you butterflies, it gives you tears and forces you to fathom the vacuum in your future without whatever that is you want to achieve, terror is indeed your fairy godmother. Terror is that disguised divinity that refuses to abandon you until you either fail or excel in the challenge put forth.

It does not necessarily mean that you look nerve and terror in the eye and say,’Hey! You can’t beat me!’ It means that you welcome them, understand what caused them in the first place. Learn how you can improve so that terror finds a second door to knock and a new soul to haunt the next time. Terror is like that opponent of yours who isn’t good in the game but the best at putting you down.

Being taken aback by the sudden lack of confidence or sheer luck when most needed, you need to recall those times when you were who you wanted to be and what gave you happiness. Don’t be swallowed by it, just a recap to make sure that that person still exists somewhere, in some universe and so they aren’t just a concept. The vision for the future that you hold is your best shot at knowing your priority.

Terror is a challenge because you battle with it among all the other emotions like mirth, melancholy, love but not necessarily peace. You carry on with your daily routine with terror somewhere in the back of your mind and your brain devouring every inch of itself to come up with a plan to kick it out the door. Terror is indeed challenging.

The point is not dar ke aage jeet hai, it is that fear is multifaceted. Many choose to see and surrender to the dominating side of it. You can choose to see it as healthy competition because it is going to keep coming back. It only relives you for sometime and believe it, you only grow abundantly in life when terror holds your hand. Next time, you experience something like this, smile and say, ‘Welcome, I’ve been expecting you.’





                                                                                   -Yugika Mital

If you don’t like change, just think once:

If change wasn’t the only permanent thing in nature then probably you’d still be on your holiday calories. Probably you wouldn’t have got over the aftershock of Conjuring 2. Probably your handwriting would be as deplorable as in kindergarten. Probably our dressing sense and hairstyle would be as embarrassing as in that Facebook picture from 10 years ago or probably dinosaurs would still be dominant on the earth.

Well, the point is that Change is inevitable. It is a part of our lives and accept it or not, we’ve evolved due to Change.  Also, when referred to ‘evolved due to change’, it doesn’t only mean the use of opposable thumbs to show the functioning of a dancing doll in Mr. Heckles’ room. Apart from physical evolution, it is mental too.

What is mental change?

This is that striking mood that drives us towards even a tiny adventure on a Saturday apart from our dull awakenings during weekdays. It is the refashioning of the mind to slowly amend ourselves to fit in society along with suitable restrictions and appropriate freedom and comfort. It is how we gradually make sense of the world and draw conclusions. However, it is not a mood swing. It doesn’t just visit you once a month.

Why is change necessary?

You know that time of your existence called ‘life’? It somehow manages to drastically impact that.

Firstly, the most common and relatable example would be that of success and failure. Many accomplished people such as J.K. Rowling and Steven Spielberg speak of the importance of failure and how the experience of it is more momentous than success. It makes us measure self-belief, exposes the supportive from the not so supportive ones and brings to light that one thing in life which when slipped from our hand stung us like blades in the heart. Be it a corporate opportunity or just an activity in school. Change helps us strike a balance, many a time. It disconnects us from a static life. Change is necessary because of adaptation. Adapting to the environment or those around us. Change is necessary to find a purpose in life and move ahead. Change is essential when you’ve become too cosy in your cocoon. Ask the importance of change to those serving a life sentence or bound to poverty for life or perhaps a school student when summer vacation just refuses to come any early. After every summer, he definitely is more experienced in way or another. Maybe in the knowledge of a new city or the importance of time management or anything he spent his summer in. It could even have made him lazy, which again is a change. This brings us to our next question.

 Difference between a change and a break?

It’s an obvious one. A break is what happened between Ross and Rachael in season 2 and a change is what was experienced by the audience after season 10 ended, more significantly for that half hour time slot that remained vacant. Long cut short, the impact of a break is short lived while that of a change lasts longer or perhaps forever. For instance, when you needed a ‘break’ from your gruesome routine, you went ahead with some social work to lighten yourself and help society altogether. You probably ‘changed’ after your experience as in became more sensitive and understanding and this remained with you throughout your life. What we mostly feel deprived of is a break because changes are so subtle that we don’t explicitly feel their presence. They just become a part of us and reveal themselves in the most mundane forms.

Are changes always good?

Definitely not! If US’s presidential history takes a not so popular turn then the change experienced by the whole world (and not only immigrants) would probably be one of the worst ever. As said changes are gradual and so a long term project. Thus, sometimes, they can be rectified if we are observant. That is that time when we must stop that alternation and minimize its effects on ourselves. For instance, keeping unhealthy company or simply an unhealthy rest/diet routine.

Do not be afraid of changes. They mostly make us a better person if we are able to monitor them and not let ourselves be dominated and submissive. A remodelling of our character impacts those around us as well, whether we know them individually or not. Our hygiene habits impact the cleanliness of the country and our morals and ethics guard our soul. Changes are diverse. They are dynamic. Change is movement. Well, if one still doesn’t get it, ‘change’ is just a word that comes after ‘birth’ and before ‘death’ in the dictionary. All you have to do traverse those pages.




                                 A PEAK INTO RICHA’S LIFE OR EVERYONE’S?

                                                                                       -Yugika Mital

Everyone has a comfort zone and what I attempt to do today is beyond my comfort zone. Moving away from writing an article on insights on life, I plan to write a story instead, a short story, if you’d say.

She threw her bag on the bed and slammed the door behind her. She was merely fifteen and that ‘tantrum phase’ had started to kick in. She considered herself too old to cry, so she simply sat in her humble wooden chair and buried her head in her hands. She kept repeating to herself, ‘Don’t bother! Don’t bother! They’ll see it.’ She looked around her. What she saw was nothing extraordinary. There was a small wooden table forth her and a decent bed with a decent mattress on it, three steps left of her. Further five steps right and the room would end where it started. Her walls were not plain though. They were pained light green, like literally remove the blue from aquamarine, green. To her right was the poster of Sunidhi Chauhan during her concert at Dallas. Behind her was a poster of Sonu Nigam, in one of his over the top attires, all that white and glittery appearance.  This room, Richa’s room, conveyed her personality perfectly. She admired the singers, of course, and wanted to be one herself and that she belonged to a decent, humble background with not too much or too less of resources.

In the lawn downstairs, her mother was furious. She had got enough of Richa’s Cs in class. She had managed to get an A once in Physics but that wasn’t enough. I mean, why would that be, right? Mother plucked the weed off the grass as she mumbled to herself on the carelessness of her daughter and how much disregard she had for her work and that Richa could only give it back in the form of excellent grades. She had taken the day off from the bank where she worked as the receptionist because the maid had quit work for some reason (now the reason isn’t really important, right? Anyway, they just have to once a day come and sweep the house and wash the utensils. They elude that minimal work as well!). Mother had vacuumed the floors and the carpet, washed the utensils and the clothes and she was finally concentrating on the garden. Now for all those thinking, ‘This is not all a woman’s job!’, Richa’s father lived in Nagpur and worked in a printing press of the Nagpur Daily and did all the same work for himself there while they lived in Jodhpur. However, mother could not manage to make lunch and had prepared cheese and cucumber sandwiches as a substitute. The already anguished teenager walked up to the casserole to find the same, wrapped in a cloth to preserve their softness. Well, if you compare them with the condition of her heart at the moment, they were definitely soft. She shrugged and went upstairs with the usual complain, ‘You stayed home today! Could you not have prepared something worthwhile at least?’ Little did she know that she was barely audible in the garden but anyway, she did not express her opinion to get a reaction but just for the sake of it.

Richa restored her normal mood, after an hour, as she did almost every week following the ‘public’ declaration of her marks and left the house for her riyas. On her way, she spoke in a rather jubilant manner to her friend on the phone but cursed the trespasser who ran across her, well suited with a briefcase, for simply alarming her and interrupting her ‘important’ conversation for less than a second. Her riyas was the best part of the day. She would attend it without fail, meet people of her kind and appreciate their hard work and focus. In a nut shell, she never felt to leave. It was her world. This was not just a hobby for her. She was a national vocalist and had held trophies in nearly all the vocal singing competitions of her state at least and three nationals. This was her breathing air, her land of escape and the place which she thought deserved her attention the most and unbiased. She’d sometimes even stay up to 3 a.m. to get that one note right.

She returned home at 9 in the night. Things were normal and the atmosphere sober. This wasn’t unusual. When noteworthy things happen in a mundane way, they turn mundane.

So, it all repeated again, the next Monday, after Richa’s English marks were declared and again the Monday after that when her Mathematics marks came into picture. Mother had got a new maid by then and restored her work, just in case you were wondering.

Now there are a number of conclusions you could draw at the end of it. Firstly, what’s the big deal about this? Secondly, see you must not force people to study Science (oh!!). Thirdly, let people follow unconventional dreams to the best of their capabilities. However, my point was ‘Appreciation of Hard Work’.

Richa wanted her hard work towards music, which was true and inspirational to be recognised by her mother in particular but she, herself turned a blind eye towards the lady’s work. Her mother was not only working but also a responsible manager of the house who decided to sacrifice her day at the office to get the regular chores done while Richa’s routine remained undisturbed. She was inconsiderate of the lunch and did not turn an eye to see the hygiene and cleanliness around her at the cost of her ‘not so preferred’ meal. Then again, the person who crossed her on the alley was probably someone who was late at his shift at work unless he was an actor, dressed in a suit to uselessly interrupt people on the pathway.

Then her mother, recognised her own hard work, of course, which was selfless but she was oblivious to Richa’s hard work and determination in music even when it happened all forth her eyes. Music requires great skill that is not gifted and that ‘Saraswatiji ka vaas’ is simply not always a matter of chance. It is developed as Richa did and she proved her worth on a national scale as well. She could have been more encouraged to do fairly well in studies (and not acing everything) and do exceptionally well in music and go beyond her comfort zone and challenge herself if that’s what it takes to reach the top.

Again, did we forget the old cleaning lady? Their job is equally exhausting and hard. In fact harder because they get paid much less and cannot afford the regular necessities despite the several hours of work at different places and mostly according to the houses’ convenience.

Why is it only the father’s work that is mostly acknowledged, undoubtedly they too work extremely hard?

Appreciation of sincere and hard work is rare. Results are necessary but they are a given if patience is accompanied with true and unbiased and focused work.  Kindly acknowledge the person who teaches you in class for his regular effort, your parents who put in endless hours of work to make your life better, your friend when she arranged the Coldplay tickets for you despite the high demand (in India, especially) or when she scored an A+ on a test while you scored a B and also the person who cleans the corridors of your schools or apartments daily to give you a clean environment. Don’t be judgmental and all into yourself. Only when you do hard work do you recognise those who actually do it but apart from that, the veil of that ‘self-importance’ has to be lifted. Hard work has no substitute and appreciation is all the more rewarding and encouraging.