Hitching a Ride.
Am often asked, “How did you get into Advertising?” Let me rewind the tape to 1968.
A pleasant and cool afternoon, typical New Delhi February weather. I was a third year student at the Indian Institute of Technology, majoring in Textile Technology, and was heading to Connaught Place (downtown) to meet a friend.
Taking a bus was out of the question as the lines (or queues) at the bus stop were unwieldy, and other forms of paid transportation were beyond my reach. So, it was back to the old reliable – the thumb. Yes, in those days, college students would put their thumbs out and many a gentleman would stop and offer a ride. It was safe for both parties.
On this day, a middle-aged gentleman stopped and he was headed to CP. Lucky me! Soon the conversation got to what the two of us were doing and he told me he owned an advertising agency. Even after all these years, I remember his name (very strange since my memory nearly always fails me with names).
Mr. Allen invited me to his office and introduced some of his people – an Account Director, a Creative Director, and a media person. He must have spent over 30 minutes explaining the agency business to me. I was impressed!
When I walked out of his office, I decided my future would be in the advertising business. I said to myself I would complete my engineering degree in the top three of my class and get myself a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree in Advertising at one of the fine universities in the U.S.
The best ride I ever hitched. In fact, that day started my love affair with the advertising business and for that I am grateful to Mr. Allen.