afaqs!

Ex adman Gangadharan Menon talks about his travel escapades

By Ashee Sharma , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 22, 2015
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Menon gave up advertising after 28 years to take up his first and second love: teaching and travel. His book, 'Evergreen Leaves', encourages people to discover the joy of travelling in India.

After a successful stint of 28 years, Gangadharan Menon, who has earlier worked with agencies like Trikaya (where he began), Rediffusion, Ogilvy and Mather, Mudra, PSL McCann and Chlorophyll, to name some, decided to wind up his advertising journey, only to set out on the next one..this time, into the heart of wild India.

Evergreen Leaves

Gangadharan Menon

His book 'Evergreen leaves' is a collection 30 articles and 55 colour photographs, handpicked from a library of over 5000. Usually travel writing is about holidays, exotic locations and leisure, but Menon's book has philosophical undertones. It encourages people to discover the joy of travelling in India, a country, he believes is made up of many countries.

Menon now teaches at Rachana Sansad College of Applied Arts, Mumbai, and does travel photography and travel writing. Talking about this transition, he tells us that it was on surviving the vicious attack of a wild tusker in the jungles of Tamil Nadu seven years ago, that he started penning down all his adventures in the various sanctuaries of India spanning three decades of travel. He thinks it was his second life and a signal from nature to begin the entrusted task. Menon decided to self-publish his book as it allowed greater freedom with the edit and design. The platform he chose was Partridge India.

Gangadharan Menon's escapades

Gangadharan Menon's escapades

Gangadharan Menon's escapades

Before landing a job as copywriter in Trikaya, Menon experimented with teaching, writing poems and short stories, acting and directing plays and voicing for Films Division documentaries. He was also interested in journalism. "Advertising teaches you to be clear about your target audience. Copywriting taught me the importance of engaging the reader and communicating to him or her in the simplest of words. In my case I was clear that I would be talking to people in the age group of 10 to 70. And I chose a language that would cut across this diverse age group. A language that's simple yet engaging. With this universal language I wanted to convey the sheer joy that I felt in every jungle trip, every step of the way", he says acknowledging the influence of advertising on his writings.

Informing us about his future plans and the possibility of returning to advertising, Menon shares, "advertising is a field that's given me a lot. A more-than-decent life, great campaigns, awards and recognition, and lots and lots of friends and well-wishers. But it's a road that I have left behind. It's been close to seven years and I feel I'm now in the best phase of my life- documenting and writing about something that's not going to last very long, considering the rate at which we are selling Mother Earth."

Menon frequently writes for The Hindu, The Times of India, DNA, Hindustan Times, Mid-day, The Better Indian and Hornbill, the journal of Bombay Natural History Society. His second book titled 'Tales of a Driftwood' is on its way. It is a collection of articles that result from mostly unplanned travel.

Evergreen Leaves is a coffee-table book. It is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions. An autographed copy at the Author Price of Rs. 3000, can be obtained by writing to wildganges@gmail.com.

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