As I put the finishing touches to the table, I smile in satisfaction. Things are exactly as I wanted, my blow dry is on point and my sandals comfortable. As I wait for the doorbell to ring and Duke to excessively bark at it, I mull over the tea party plans and my guests.
My guests are a diverse trio of powerful women, hailing from different countries and timelines. But one thing all three have in common is that they are women who stepped into careers dominated by men, and not only thrived but created a legacy that has endured. I’m looking forward to meeting them, all for different, yet ultimately similar, reasons. And knowing how opinionated, loquacious, funny and bold we all are I’m sure this tea party will be vastly entertaining and filled with rumbustious laughter.
The root of my love for murder mysteries was sown among the shelves of the St. Joseph’s Convent library. So, the first name I wrote on the invitation cards was Agatha Christie. It’s incredible how her stories continue to capture the imagination of audiences all over the world. Her characters are memorable because they are so real, so no matter what culture, country or decade you may be from, you can relate to them.
As Miss Marple once said: “'Well, my dear human nature is much the same everywhere”. This keen insight is so critical in our field, where campaigns based on insights are the ones that succeed. Another aspect of advertising we grapple with is to remain relevant as audiences and media evolve. I’m hoping to learn this art of longevity from the woman who has held generations enthralled; her books are still made into films and TV series, riveting even the ever-elusive millennials.
I think Ms Christie will find my second guest very interesting as she too, like Poirot, knew that she is the best. It was this naaz and adah that first attracted me to Madam Noorjehan. As a child I used to watch her, admiring her sarees, jewellery and affectations, not really paying attention to the songs. Her personality sparkled as brightly as the diamonds in her rings. However, as I grew older so did my admiration and understanding of her talent. And when I watch her interviews I am awestruck by her humour, energy and joie de vivre.
I want to share a cup of tea with her to not only bask in the sunshine of her personality but also to appreciate how you reign over an industry for decades with such grace. Well, to be honest… I also want to gossip and get the dirt on all the scandals of the golden days of the Pakistani film industry, including hers!
I’m sure both of them will appreciate the depth of talent of my next guest, Paula Green. Paula worked with my advertising hero, Bill Bernbach, and after writing some iconic lines, including Avis' "We try harder" tagline she opened her own agency. Whilst I was tempted to invite Bernbach Himself (the capital H here is deliberate) I decided to keep the party an estrogen-only zone.
I would love to hear firsthand about the journey from being the only woman in a room full of cocky ad men to being inducted in the One Club Creative Hall of Fame. As a fellow believer in insight being the key to communication, I’m sure hearing the details behind all the amazing campaigns she crafted will teach me more than any tome on advertising.
Planning the menu was a bit tricky as the guests are so varied, but our shared colonial heritage ensures one thing, our love for a lavish tea. To honour my cuisine, I will be serving British tea with a desi tadka!
Cheese scones with mango chutney
Paneer and green chutney finger sandwiches
Mini chicken salad naan sandwiches
Paneer tikka skewers
Orange and coriander drizzle cake
Apple pie samosas (Batool Mohsin’s recipe)
Black forest papri (Batool Mohsin’s recipe)
Mini besan ladoos covered with dark chocolate
Tempted by the menu and the company? Come on over; I always have time for tea and tête-à-tête.
Kiran Murad is a creative consultant. firstname.lastname@example.org