Today I found some things. Calling them bunch of old cards and letters would be really undermining their importance. They must be important as I had saved them for over a decade.
They were memories from my first ever job at Ambience Advertising, Worli, Bombay, India.
Silly notes, letters, Garfield cartoon strips, poems, cards, all kept neatly in a file, faded into a yellow colour, forgotten by time...and found by me.
I picked up and read each and every piece there. It bought back a flood of memories. Yes they were memories of old friends, long forgotten ex-colleagues, the fun times during internship days. But what they symbolised to me were the promises that they all once held.
At that time the world holds promise for you- a promise of adventure, a promise of progress, a promise of excitement. You are eager with anticipation. You know your goals. You can taste that success and you know, you simply know, you can have it all. It’s all there waiting for you- the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow.
And then life happens.
Reality smacks you in the face and you are never the same again.
You get stuck in the routine. The 8.10 am local then, or the 8.55 am shuttle bus now. (Technically I never really caught a ‘local’- it’s just there for effect. I used to get a ride in my friend Sonul’s dad’s car- yes it’s Sonal with a ‘u’).
Coming back...we get caught in the trivial. Trapped in the inconsequential. And forget why we were really there in the first place.
When at work, we forget that it’s not supposed to be that hard. We get driven by results rather than passions. We use more of our heads and not enough of our hearts.
And soon it becomes a job. Not the dream we had once envisioned. Not the passion we had once protected, but a job.
I have been extremely lucky, except for probably once in life when I held a ‘job’ and went to work, on all other occasions I did it for the sheer fun! Yes the career advancements, increments, fancy job titles, all came about- but it was all at the back of doing what I simply loved doing.
And for that I have my Ambience days to thank. That one year I spent there taught me everything a job must have- fun, friends, excitement, passionate people, and bosses who will give you a ride home so you don’t have to take public transport. (Ok, the last one is not really critical, but it was one of the perks of Ambience).
My Ambience Top 10:
1) My fellow MTs (Management Trainees for the uninformed) and the absolutely, undoubtedly, most amazing 3 months “internship programme” ;)
2) Shubha’s 10.00 am and 5 pm cup of coffee- delivered to my desk (actually it used to be delivered on everyones desk, but emphasising ‘my desk’ seems nicer)
3) The terrace where we shared lunches and gossips (more of the latter)
4) Learning the ropes of advertising- yes I did learn many things, it was not all fun and games. Most important lesson- “The best creative work never sees light of day”. I was appalled and saddened, but over the years have realised how true that statement was. But how still creative teams I always worked with, keep on creating fabulous work. Kudos guys!
5) The crazy, silly and utterly pointless pranks
6) The passion that drove all the people who worked there
7) My first initiation into the serious Hindi swear words. “Chutni” which I was sweetly informed by a senior suit is used to describe female clients who were a cross between a “ch$%^” and a “bhutani”. It’s brilliant! I still use it when I am really, really angry
8) The car rides to and from work with the music
9) The bosses who cared
10) The 3 friends I made for life- Divya, Sonul and Monisha. I love you tons!
I wish no matter how old I grow, I never forget what drives me and always find a place to work, where work just does not seem like work.
But few times beat those Ambience days...