Saturday, December 10, 2016

A tribute to a veteran writer/adman - S.Krishna

My  good friend S.Krishna is no more. Also known as Pertinax Krishna, 85 year old Krishna passed away recently after a brief struggle with cancer. He had never fully recovered from the irreparable loss of his dear wife more than a year ago. She had  died a day after their 58th wedding  anniversary. Inspite of him being old with health issues, the way he looked after his wife during her last days could be a lesson in loving care for the youngsters of today.

He was 55 when he decided to pursue his passion for advertising by starting his own advertising  agency called Pertinax. He had started his working career earlier with Post & Telegraphs Department , where he spent 10 years after which he had a long stint with Lucas TVS in their marketing dept. It was in Lucas TVS that his interests in advertising took roots when  he was dealing with R.K.Swamy Advertising Associates who were the advertising  agency for his company. 

A voracious reader and a bilingual writer in English & Tamil,  Krishna was regularly contributing articles and stories to the leading dailies and magazines of the time. His stories were published by The Hindu, Indian Express, Caravan, Kalki etc. A collection of his Tamil stories was published by Vanathi Padhippagam. He was known for his excellent command of English which was  reflected in his writings. A perfectionist in whatever he did, he would not hesitate to pull up people for their slackness . He was brutally frank to the extent that he could sometimes hurt people with his comments.

He was an active member of the Advertising Club, Madras right from its early years. The office bearers of the Club used to dread his presence in Annual General Meetings of the Club because he would not hesitate to ask probing  questions on the affairs of the Club and expect an answer. It is this very quality of Krishna which brought me close to him. When I got actively involved with the Adclub, I realised that Krishna was genuinely interested in the Club and had no malice towards anyone. Nor was he aspiring for any posts. When I found out that he was a creative writer, I decided, as  the President of the Club between  1993-95,  to request  him to take up the job of editing the Club Magazine `Headline` which used to be an annual publication. He not only  helped  in converting   the magazine  into  a quarterly   but also  brought out excellent issues of the magazine,  rich in content and  quality with total dedication and commitment . He did this  for seven years  in a row until a misunderstanding with one of the Presidents made him give up the responsibility. It is sad that the magazine was never revived after he quit the post.

I cannot forget Krishna for playing an important  role in helping me bring out the Golden Jubilee Commemoration Volume of the Adclub, Madras, one of  my dream projects,  when I became  the club`s  Golden jubilee Committee Chairman in 2005-6. In spite of his advancing age ( he was 75) he would run around using available transport looking for materials and photos for the book. I remember an instance when he walked the streets of Kodambakkam trying to locate a photo studio, which had a photo  of the founders of the Adclub, Madras in 1956. Not only did he help in collecting information but he also wrote the main story in the book tracing the 50 year history of the Adclub, Madras. I was all admiration for his enthusiasm and the  physical energy that he displayed at  that time. Though I faded into  the background after the event  , he continued to attend  Club Meetings until health issues prevented him. He had already handed over the running of his agency to his second son.

The last big writing assignment  that he did was  the chapter on the history of advertising for a book called `Madras ( Chennai)- A Four Hundred Year history of the First City of India`, a project of the Association of British Scholar Programme consisting of 50 articles on a variety of topics, edited by the well known historian /Journalist S.Muthiah. He was eagerly looking forward to the release of the book. Pity that he passed away without seeing his effort in print.

Post my retirement from my business, I was a regular visitor to his home.  I always looked forward to his critical comments on my writings. I am going to miss a well wisher – a frank , outspoken person who may not have made many friends in the advertising business but  was a good human being with good intentions. May his Soul rest in peace!

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