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Monday, March 30, 2015

Chp 554. Weekend shift from Mumbai

As one chapter closes, another opens.

George Bernard Shaw once said, “Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” I must confess, for the past eight years in Mumbai, I have not only found myself, but created myself.

Eight years ago, I was nothing but a lost soul. I had just dropped out from an MBA course then, and appeared for my UPSC exams after a year of coaching classes and still failed to make it to prelims. I was jobless, clueless and reckless.

Mumbai changed all that.

Some of you may know the “magical” story of how I started my career here in Mumbai. I’ve mentioned it once in an earlier blog post. In case it may serve as an inspiration to some of you, here’s my story, in brief.

Back in 2008, I was unemployed. After a long soul searching and introspection, I finally decided to look for work. My first job. My friends told me that since I was creative, I should apply for a job in an advertising agency, specifically a digital ad agency. And since I’ve never applied for any job anywhere (no work experience), they were afraid I might get totally disappointed if I get rejected, so they wanted me to face rejection first.

And so they told me to go to the best agency to apply for a job where I would surely get rejected, and once I was rejected, I would become stronger and start applying for job in mid-rung agencies with more confidence. That was the plan.

Webchutney was the number 1 digital agency back in 2008. I didn’t even apply online for an interview because I had no idea which position I should apply for nor had any understanding of how an ad agency even worked. I searched for the address online, and then went to the office at Versova Link Road directly.

I shocked the hell out of the receptionist (Rihanna) because nobody had ever come to Webchutney for a walk-in interview before. I was the first. Maybe to humor me, she asked me a few questions. I didn’t know what she saw in me, but she left the interview room and brought down our HR (Manisha), who too was equally flabbergasted. She too asked me a few questions, and next, I was called up to the fifth floor (!) for an interview with the ACD (Nishi). He too was amused and impressed with the whole process. We had a long interview, followed by a copy test (my first ever copy test), and then I went home.

Later, when I reached home, I told my friends and sister about my experience, and then we started discussing which lower or mid-rung ad agencies to apply to because I was definitely going to get rejected. And then I got a call from the HR telling me they wanted to meet me again. My friends and sister were like, “Just go, humor them, meanwhile we’ll chalk out your next interview”. The next day I went to the office again, and to my surprise it was the Branch Head (Poornima) and the CD (Creative Director) who wanted to meet me! Holy $hit. We had a long round of interview and most of the questions asked were related to creativity and wit.

I rushed home after the meeting, itching to tell my friends and sister about who I just met, when I got a call from HR saying I got the job! Needless to say, all my friends and sister were completely shocked, and we celebrated.

I joined Webchutney as a copywriter trainee. I had completely no clue what copywriters were supposed to do when I joined. In fact you can read in this post about my first project and the hilarious result due to my misconception of what copywriters were supposed to do.

But I slogged my ass out. I learnt the ropes, and I was guided by the best. I was the first to reach and last to leave office every day. I put in Saturdays and sometimes even Sundays as well. Initially I was a little bit embarrassed because many of my seniors were way younger than I was. But I worked hard, sometimes even staying over in office for the night, and soon overtook them. In just four years, I was promoted from copywriter trainee to junior copywriter to copywriter to senior copywriter to copy supervisor. From the clueless intern who had no idea how ad agencies work, by my second year I was handling important accounts all on my own. I was even given a special designation – Creative Trailblazer in my fourth year.

And then after a very successful stint with Webchutney for five years, my friends and I decided to start our own company - FITH Media, where we develop mobile games. In our first year itself, we were selected by StartUp Chile, one of the world’s most reputed incubators, to join their startup accelerator program! 1577 companies from 68 countries applied, and only 100 were chosen. We were one of them!

So if you ever think life is hard, remember, it is no bed of roses, but hard work, or as we used to say in college, smart work, will get you very far if you are dedicated.

Now it is time to move to the next level, and a part of me is a bit nervous about the future. But like before, there is nothing one can’t solve if we put our hearts and minds to it.

I would like to make this post much more detailed, writing about the wonderful Mumbai Mizo Association and all my Mizo friends, including the crazy house parties we used to have here, but unfortunately the Movers & Packers are coming in an hour so I don’t have the time to do that. Maybe I’ll post about that in my next update from Pune.

I would also like to bid my friends at the North East Helpline Mumbai a warm goodbye, and wishing them all the best in making Mumbai a safer place for Northeasterners. Those were some great times we all spent together, from meeting top officers and CPs and DCPs to conducting awareness events.

Last of all, I will miss my flatmates and our dear Saddam the most. The little beagle who we brought up right when he was a mere puppy to this loving and caring dog lighting up our lives with his greetings and silly antics. Flatmates are like family, and saying goodbye to them is always difficult.

Before I make this any longer than it should be, I think I’ll just end it with a quote from Abe Lincoln – “In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” Thank you Mumbai for giving me such a wonderful life in these few years. It had indeed been the best ride of my life so far.


Caption: And miles to go, even after sleeping, and miles to go, even after sleeping…



Malsawmi Jacob said...

Nostalgic. Glad you're leaving with such happy memories. You've sure put your mark in Mumbai, many there will remember you with real warmth and gratitude.

I remember the first ever phone conversation we had when you were applying for the copywriter's job. So long ago, how time flies!

All the best for your next stay, hoping you find happiness there too.

Mizohican said...

Pi mesjay, yup, time sure does fly by quickly. Remember how clueless and blind I was about what a copywriter does etc? :D

And thanx for the wishes, wishing you all the best on your book launch as well :)

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