I have reached my saturation point. I can’t write one more word about how to sell tomato ketchup. I don’t even like tomatoes, they are unpleasant. They are sweet, bitter, and tangy. Sometimes they taste earthy. Why? Why can’t they stick to tasting the same? Why all the varieties? I hate the taste, hate the look (are they orange or red?) and hate having to write about how to sell them.
Mom gave me tomato sandwiches for lunch today. I've been sulking since then. She knows how much I detest that vegetable (or is that a fruit?) and yet, the moment I opened my lunch box, there it was. I guess she forgot... Again! However, the way the slice of that wretched contradiction sat between the bread slices, on the cheese, dusted with some salt and pepper, it seemed as if the tomato was mocking me.
“Neal, Feroz wants to know whether you are ready with the final concept of the ad.”
It’s Adi, a design intern. She's overly enthusiastic and extremely annoying. She believes that she knows every mantra about reaching the top without making an effort. Pish-posh, I’m aware of ‘all’ the mantras there are to know. Silly girl!
“No. I need some more time.”
Ah! I have finally learned to control my anger. Those anger management workshops have been a great help.
“Well, it’s just tomato ketchup. Hurry up!” she dares to talk to me like that!
“Hey!” but she has already trotted away.
I am Indraneal Sengupta, 47 years old, unmarried and most of the time, I talk to myself. I am not mad, let me tell you that. Unlike others, who still pretend they understand me, but don’t, I get myself; what else does one need? I enjoy my own company. My mother, Sulochana, and I live in a posh area in New Delhi, although we are not rich. You have probably guessed by now I work for an ad agency as an assistant creative head. It’s not that I hate my job. But there are days when identifying the unique selling proposition of ordinary ketchup can take its toll. Enough about me, for now. Mr. Feroz Khan, the senior creative head, must be waiting for me.
“Ah, Neal! Finally, you are here. All right, dazzle me!” Unusually, he seems to be in a good mood today.
I show him my work.
I can see the change of expression on his face. He is not dazzled with my work.
“It’s okay… but it’s not brilliant."
“We can… make the ketchup bottle slightly… sexier. You know… Naughty tomato. What do you think, Neal?
A SEXY TOMATO KETCHUP BOTTLE?! FOR KIDS?
I can feel anger drumming at my temple. I might jam the pencil that I have in my hand into his throat. Would he be able to endure the pain?
“Feroz, do you mind?”
In a swift action, I’ve stabbed Feroz with the pencil.
That bastard doesn’t know how much I hate tomatoes.
Writing order: Ishq Nyazi (Ind), Iliena Bosu (Ind) Donna McTavish (NZ), Tulika Saha (Ind) Suraya Dewing (NZ) Sumanda Maritz(S. Africa) Angela Shaw (NZ), Sumanda Maritz (S. Africa),Suraya Dewing (NZ), Leif Rennes (USA)