What in the name of God does a copywriter do?

It’s a question I have been asked umpteen times. And it’s a question I am not particularly fond of. No, I am not in the habit of snubbing people off but circumstances compel me to answer that particular question with my eyebrows furrowed, with a tone that comes somewhere between a snarl and an irritated shriek and a look that tells wise people to back off.

You may think I am a zombie gone paranoid. But listen to the precise way the question is framed for me. May be you will empathize.

Someone: What do you do?
Me (Creased brow, shaky voice, suspicious look): I am a copywriter

Someone (looks amused. Giggles, shows all of his/her teeth and asks as if he/she has just deciphered the Da Vinci Code), ‘Haha…You copy and write. Right?’

I am going to call him Ignorant Fool now.

Me (Takes a deep breath, smiles fake, takes a deep breath again): No. We write original copy.

Ignorant Fool: Ha Ha! Hi Hi! How can copy be original? (Another fit of laughter)

Me (Sound of my teeth cracking): I mean we write content. Content for websites, print ads, brochures or whatever.

Ignorant Fool (Slightly enlightened expression): Oh…ok…I get it now…

Me (Eyes light up): Yes…now you know! (May be I should just call him ignorant.)

Ignorant (The doubtful look is back on his face): So, it must be an easy job? Right?

Me (What-in-the-world look): Easy?! Depends on how creative you are! (May be I must stick to Ignorant Fool)

Ignorant Fool: Hahahahaahhahaahhahaa……….Oh my…haha…how can you..hahaha (He is laughing so much that he cant stop the drool drops he is spraying around)

Me (What’s-tickling-you-so-much-you-@#$%&* look): What?

Ignorant Fool: What is so…haha...creative…haha…about typing in content?


Most foolishly ignorant person on earth: Arrey! Don’t get so hyper. You should have told me earlier that you take down what is given to you and then type it on the keyboard.

Me: (Wonders if he thinks that content is self generated from the computer, before fainting and hitting the ground hard)

PS: The title is not actually about the question 'someones’, ignorants, ignorant fools or most foolishly ignorant persons on earth' have. It is the question we copywriters have: ‘What in the name of God does a copywriter do... when he/she is asked the most insulting questions about his/her profession?’


Not homesick, never

This was part of our over-a-cuppa discussion this evening. As usual, we were talking about this and that, and I'm not sure how it all got started, but here is how it went...

Me: When I was in the NCC, I attended the RD (Republic Day) Camp at Delhi, which was a month long camp.

Others: Listening (maybe wondering...oh no! not again!!)

Me: Almost at the fag end of the camp I got this telegram from my father. My camp commandant & superiors were all worried and called me over immediately. They were anxiously waiting for me to tear it open and read the contents. There were just 3 words printed on it. DEAD OR ALIVE?

Others: What?

Me: I hadn't written or called my parents in the almost 1 month period that I had been in the camp. My camp superiors were furious. They got me to write a long letter to my folks back at home right in front of them, just in case I changed my mind when I got back to the bunker.

Others: One month and you didn't write or call them? No wonder your dad sent you that telegram.

Me: That's me. When I get out of home, I'm in my own world. And I presume everybody else thinks that I'll do fine and leave me alone. But that's not how this world works. Some day, I'll mend my ways. Maybe, when my kids grow up and do the same with me!

- Espresso

Angel in disguise

Long, long ago...when I just started to walk, and maybe when I realized that my legs could actually take me wherever I please...my life played out like a nightmare.

My dad was deputed on the auditing job, so we literally travelled country-wide back then - Dad, mom, sometimes my sis, and myself (My sis and I were just 1 year apart. As it was difficult to manage 2 little kids in unknown places on her own, mom left my sis back at her parents' place - in Calicut during this trip). It was some place in Andhra Pradesh, if I remember right. We didn't know the local language (Telugu). Dad & Mom managed with English and the spatter of Hindi they knew.

It was just a week in this new place. My mom rubbed oil over my whole body and left me for maybe about 5 minutes to get some hot water for the bath. Meanwhile, I ventured out of the bathroom. Reached the gate, opened the lock and wandered around the entrance (Not sure what exactly happened here, because this is a third person account that I am relating here).

Our milk-maid was walking down our lane to deliver milk at our house, when she saw this stranger carrying me and walking in the opposite direction. He didn't look related to us and she'd never seen him in the vicinity before. By instinct, she realized there was something wrong. She immediately approached him and enquired who he was, how he was related to me and where he was headed with me in his arms...He fumbled for words. She smelt it right away. She threatened to report him to the police unless he handed me over to her immediately. He couldn't get himself to say anything, since this was out of the blue. He expected to get away scotfree. He did eventually. But at least he was frightened enough to put me down and make his escape while he could.

Back at home, my mom was all anxious and wondering where I had vanished. Her eyes were welling with tears and flooding down her cheeks. She didn't know what to do. The Bank Manager came down and consoled her saying they'd do everything they could to help find me. And then, the milk-maid made a grand entry, with me in her arms. She narrated the whole incident. My mom thanked her profusely , thanked God and everybody around. It was a miracle indeed. My angel in disguise!

I still wonder what would have happened to me if the milk-maid hadn't come there that very moment . He would have probably whisked me away, pulled out an eye or two, given me a begging bowl and sent me out in the streets to beg. It's big business I hear. It happens, really! Hundreds of children are , this very moment. It's sad, but it's the truth. Wish we could do something to stop this horrendous crime!

- Espresso

Management of Change

"Change is inevitable. Your strength and ability lies in adapting and assimilating as much as you can and delivering according to the changed needs", went on the management guru.

The company had arranged a management class for us. And this exceptional talk was I the post lunch session. Dozing off was not possible because it was a small room and there were only about ten of us from the creative division.

“ We are in the service industry and we can survive only if we meet the customer’s demands. Customer satisfaction is a must”, he droned on.

I was just thinking the type of writing that is expected of us sometimes and how we dread to stoop to that standards. But the next day at office, everyone was game to giving it a try- to change.

So we decided to make a change in our spoken English first and then carry it forward to our written English.

Espresso: let’s in the do.

Latte: yes yes

Cappucino: Change is in the us

Myself :My head is in the circle

Espresso: What?

Myself: My head is in the circle

Cappucino leans over to read something on my desktop and: She is in circle and Iam in the runs

Latte(giggling): Sheesh. You in the go there.

Espresso: Me going meeting moron

Myself: me the thirsty

Suze floats in. “Is that interface ready?”, she asks

We blink. We don’t understand.

She asks again.

She hasn’t changed. The management class has not affected her.

“Tell me when it is ready” and drifts off again

Cappuccino looks at the time, “ Oh no. I see butt of bus”

Myself offers, “ Iam the droppings”
And then corrects, “ Iam in the dropping”

What do you suggest? Is change good?

An English Lesson: Copywriters exploring new possibilities

Scene: Office. Four copywriters busily working...

Latte reads a ‘mega special’ (meaning, absolutely horrendous) content (something like this) from a client, rolls her eyes, is dumbstruck and passes the said content to KK, Espresso and Cappuccino for inspection.

[After a few minutes]

Cappuccino: Yikes...Such a shame!!

KK gives that extra special smile reserved exclusively for such occasions

Espresso rolls her eyes, raises her eyebrows to full extent, tilts her head to one side and has a painful straight-lipped smile... (Don’t ask me to explain, I am not very good at explaining)
In short, pure shock reflects every copywriter face...

Espresso: Girls, Why don’t you learn to write like this?


Espresso: I guess everyone expects us to ‘upgrade’ our copywriting skills to this....level

Latte: Yea, It is like we should learn their language

Cappuccino: Best! [Heavy sarcasm]

KK still remains silent and brings together the fingertips in her right hand, holds it above her head and taps her scalp with it... indicating a deeply meditative mood

Latte looks from one person to another like watching a tennis match (Ok, with the exception that there are actually three people involved)

KK: So much ‘klipithiri’ (KK dictionary definition: major problem) there...How do people manage to write like that?

Espresso: I know! This is outrageous!

Latte nods vigorously

Latte: Oh my! Did you actually hear my neck crick?

Cappuccino: No surprise there! The way you were shaking your head!

Espresso: [Takes charge before the gals get distracted by Latte’s story of pains and aches] This calls for drastic measures! From now on we will try to learn their language!

Cappuccino: Like, if we have to write about India, we will say, “India is a country. There are people here. We are all very happy here.”

KK: No, not like that...”India are the countries. We are the peoples and we are in the exploding with happiness!!”

Cappuccino: Oh! I get it...”We is the country! India the beautifullest in the countries! People here is wonderfuls and beautifuls!!

Latte: Good God!!!!

Espresso: You is in the correct road gals..A brightest futures stopping for you!!

Cappuccino gives the classic look when she is in disbelief, with lips and eyes narrowed.

Latte: Oh God! Please help, God!

[Disclaimer: Yea, we are not the authority on the English language, but it is too darn difficult to put up with senseless writing! Sigh...Expecting some sincere sympathy here...Sigh]

Try This

Clue: Open Up
Alphabets 5
Middle letter Y

It was another day when work was less. Recession had made us crossword enthusiasts @ dictionary.com. But this was a bit tough.

Cappuccino: Let’s try the vowels in first cell. a, e, i, o and u. The cell remained yellow

Latte: Let’s try the other across clues

Espresso(reads): Said sheepishly 5 letters, first letter B

Latte: Must be Bleat

Cappuccino keys in l and cell shows yellow.

KK: It is Baawed

Espresso: Yeah, right

Capuccino obediently types in with Latte looking on amusedly
And Voila its right.

Rrring, the phone rings. Espresso attends while others go on pondering over the crossword

Latte: So now we have the second letter too…
Clue: Open Up
Alphabets 5
Second letter A
Middle letter Y

Everyone thinks hard but no aswers.
KK: What’s the last across? ( Reads) This and …
Latte: That

Cappuccino: So we have the last letter also H
Clue: Open Up
Alphabets 5
Second letter A
Middle letter Y
Last letter H

Espresso is done with the call of speaking to some moron and explaining to him some silly thing. She joins.
Espresso: Did you girls get it?
Cappuccino: Not yet
Latte: what’s the first across( reads) Solomon the
Cappuccino Wise

So now we have
Clue: Open Up
Alphabets 5
First letter: S
Second letter A
Middle letter Y
Last letter H

What? Disbelieving Cappuccino starts the vowel test. And it is

Cappuccino wore her classic"Don't tell me" look.
And this time too, KK missed to shoot her pose.

That was the last time we thought that Crossword helped vocabulary

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…

Well, it happens after you are married to someone who doesn’t understand why we need to celebrate birthdays at all!

Birthday was a special day for us, back at home. My mom used to bake us delicious cakes (yum-scrum!), with all the frills and to top it all – with the icing on top (Happy bday da, da, da…) for each of our birthdays. The whole process of preparation was itself fun (My sis & I, under the premise of helping mom with the baking, help with eating the cherries, cashews, raisins and even lick up the leftover batter and the icing instead!). And on the d-day, mom used to play the tape with the birthday song (the same that we’ve listened to for as long as I can remember) – the birthday baby (dad, mom, sis or myself) gets to make a wish, blow the candles, cut the cake and resume our otherwise routine day. We used to get each other surprise gifts – big or small didn’t matter – it was the gesture that was all important.

Now after marriage and two kids, it’s only these fond memories that remain. I try to (first) gently remind my hubby almost a month back…

Me: (clearing my throat) my birthday’s coming up (again, clearing my throat) what do you plan to get me this time around?!
Hubby: Well, you’ve got a car, you’ve got a card…go ahead, buy anything you want!
Me: What do you mean? You’re supposed to buy me something as a gift!
Hubby: Ok, what do you want?
Me: I dunno. You’re supposed to come with an idea. Buy anything you think I’ll like.
Hubby: Phew! How about a watch? Or how about some gold ornament? That would be an investment as well!
Me: There you go again! Thinking of making an investment rather than buying me a gift.

It’s the same story every year. But I’m not giving up. Try and try until you succeed, they say. Put on the long face, it helps sometimes. He gave in last year. Bought me a solitaire. This year, I grabbed an outfit (for once, I didn’t care about the price tag!). Today, I’m dressed in it. Because…it’s my birthday!

Thank you,

More on Onam

After the Onam celebrations in our office...

KK: Wow! It feels like Onam is finally here!

Latte: Yea, that is true

Espresso: Yea, so why so sad??

Latte: Because I am in a holiday mood now and tomorrow is a working day!!

Cappuccino: Lazy girl!

Latte grins
KK: So what all plans for Onam, gals? I will be going to my native place

Three gals: Me too…

Cappuccino: Did the Onam shopping? Onakkodi (New clothes that are given as presents for family members) and everything?

KK:Yes, we finished that part..The shops were all so crowded!!! It seemed everyone in the city had become shopaholics!

Espresso: I know! Going to the city is more or less a nightmare now

Latte: For some peace and quiet, we should visit places outside the towns and cities… So tranquil and peaceful…And there Onam celebrations are so different…with Pookkalam (Floral carpet), Thiruvathirakali (a dance form), Pulikkali (another dance form in which people dress up like tigers) and Onasadya (Onam feast with rice, many varieties of curries, payasam (sweet desserts)) … yummy…Here we don’t have time for anything... Too busy running about…

: Onasadya is one of the best parts of an Onam celebration

KK: And the Pookkalam!

Cappuccino: Yes, of course... The floral carpet we had at our office was simply gorgeous!

: Gosh I remember setting up a pookkalam with flowers from the garden in my grandparents’ house…

KK: Surely we can’t do that now... Nobody has gardens now and the only option is buying flowers…

Espresso: Say, does anybody actually bother putting a pookkalam in their houses nowadays??

: Well..No…Hmm... The competitions and pookkalams at offices and other public places are all that is left…

Cappuccino: And of Onam, the programmes in Asianet channel and the announcements like ‘Thiruvonadina special programmes, sponsored by….” over and over again

KK:Oh well, we can’t do anything about all that! All we can do is enjoy to the maximum, spend some quality time with our families and celebrate the spirit of Onam..

Espresso: And show Mahabali (It is said that Onam is celebrated every year when the great king Mahabali visits Kerala) that we are all very good even now:-)

Cappuccino: O…K..that remains to be seen...

Everyone smiles

A Cuppa Onam

It’s Onam! The festival is right here, right now!!!
Ok…I am overdoing the excitement but then it truly is something to rejoice about. The other day at office we celebrated Onam. And boy! Wasn’t it fun?

All the people in our office came in the traditional Kerala attire – girls in the Kerala Saree and guys in Shirt and Mundu. Of course, there were spoil sports who gallantly walked in, in casuals giving excuses such as ‘I don’t have a matching blouse for my saree’, or ‘I woke up late’ and the worst one, ‘It’s so damn difficult’! Aaargh! If we could, why couldn’t they? Anyway, the loss was all theirs. While we gathered compliments from all directions on how lovely we looked, we could see the kill joys regretting not donning the saree. Haha! That put us at ease (evil laugh)

The sumptuous Onasadya was followed by entertainment programmes that included dumbsharade. But before that we had an ‘introduce yourself’ session for the new employees. Since Latte and I fall into that category, we were to ahem…introduce ourselves (as if no one knows us already ;) )! And it was Expresso’s and Suze’s wicked idea to convert into a mini-ragging session.

We had to pick lots and do whatever stuff was written on that fateful piece of paper. Latte and I luckily escaped with simple stuff such as saying A-Z the reverse order (which I didn’t complete! ‘Grins shamelessly’) and saying Happy Onam in some absurd order, which Latte did. Some people got ‘sing a song’, ‘dance’ etc etc, after watching which Espresso wished she hadn’t come up with the ragging idea in the first place. Ok, I am being mean here. It really was fun.

We also discovered some great talents, such as our new receptionist who looks this meek and sweet girl, but she set the stage on fire with her absolutely delightful mimicry skills. She mimicked male actors and politicians, in a way that would have put even male artists to shame. It was fab. And that is an understatement.

So all in all, it was a day filled with fun and enjoyment. Did I forget to mention the Pookalam (floral carpet)? I think I did. Well, it was all colours, wonderful designs and fragrance. That must give you an idea of how beautiful it was…

So that’s Onam at Over a Cuppa Copy. We have a couple of day’s holiday and will be back with our Onam @ home experiences soon. Till then, it is one big ‘Happy Onam’ wish from all of us to you.

On behalf of Latte, Espresso and KK,


Have a wonderful Onam folks! :)