Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: Should I learn French, Spanish or Mandarin?

14 Jul,2016

By Jaisurya Das


Ladies and Gentleman, I take pleasure of welcoming you back to yet another edition of India’s Only Online Counselling Forum for the Media, Advertising and Marketing industry…

Since we are on the subject of media, it’s interesting how social media has made people far more responsive. Ministers, bureaucrats and corporates today take every post on social media seriously. Tweets are today powerful when it comes to evoking action.


Be it Suresh Prabhu or Sushma Swaraj, the tweet has become a wake up call to become a 24/7 solution provider to the citizens. I quite recently heard of how the PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation) Commissioner has been actually responding to individual tweets and taking immediate action.. I of course, decided to test this and tweeted Kunal Kumar an hour ago inviting him for a drive down the road leading to my house in Pune. Now i figure how Neil Armstrong felt when he walked the moon. Poor chap, it must have been hell.


People often scoff at social media and the flippancy of most of the mediums within it. What they are missing however, is its infinite ability to garner eye balls. Its almost epidemic like when you think about it. Life is inclusive now. Privacy is nothing more than a word in the dictionary and yet we have made this integral to our lives..


Often we find it hard to accept and yet we know this is the truth. We are but virtual players on this boardgame of connected Life: Social Media.


Interestingly, it’s also done well for the economy. Social media has made almost every other person an expert waiting to take you to the next frontier of business success. There isn’t a given day when small firms like ours aren’t at the receiving end of someone offering their social media expertise.


I did happen to look at the curriculum of a course on social media recently, and I noticed that it was pretty much what all of us did every time we used this medium.


I shudder to think of what will happen to traditional media in the years to come. Well before you even decide on how your newspaper page should look, social media would have stepped in, given the topic its due and exited with steadfast purpose. Having spent over a decade as a publisher, this certainly sounds tough to combat. “Reinvent Print’ is a much-flogged term today and I read articles on this time and again but, the fact of the matter is that, there isn’t a solution! Reinvent is easier said than done. All inventions and reinventions are products of brilliant ideas. Man has forgotten to ideate when confronted by a behemoths. And worse still since this behemoth is man-made and man-managed.


Double edged swords need crafty hands..


Let’s leave it at this for now and go onto our questions for this week from our esteemed readers in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru. Read on…


Sir, I hope you are able to answer this question for this week:

July 14 is Bastille Day. I am a junior copywriter and wish to learn a foreign language. What do you recommend I learn: French or Spanish? Or should it be Chinese/Mandarin? French is my first choice, but a lot of people are saying Spanish and Mandarin. Please enlighten… Merci!

Indeed we shall answer your interesting question..! Thank you for writing in to Dear MxM.

I can see that you are most inclined to go with France what with the  Bastille emotion!  To refresh my readers memories, The Bastille is how the French Independence Day is referred to the world over. The storming of the high security prison, Bastille laid the foundation for the French Independence, or so we believe.

To be honest I can only give you a biased answer since I learnt French for a couple of years, and it’s indeed a beautiful language. More so, if you are interested in history and literature. It’s a gentle language with almost a sing-song intonation that grows on you day after day.

As a copywriter, I am not sure how much potential French will have for you from a career perspective. Mandarin is more likely to be of use given its rising popularity with trade burgeoning between the two countries.

Coming to think of it, why stop at one? Learn both, and they will only do well for you. One for passion and the other for your career. More the merrier!


I am in Class 11. I enjoy food-related marketing. Do you think it’s good to a hotel management course? Or a cookery course? Sir, can you help me out, I will be e(a)ternally grateful.

Ha ha, You certainly have a way with words. Hopefully, this talent extends to your marketing skills too!

Honestly, food marketing is a segment that India has ignored despite the huge food industry that thrives here. While food marketing is certainly practiced, there are no established courses ( that I am aware of) to teach this interesting subject.

As for the Hotel Management course (in the Indian context), the primary focus is production and operations and there is virtually no marketing in the curriculum.

I personally wouldn’t suggest this course unless you are passionate about working your way up the hotel hierarchy. You could think of doing a shorter course from one of the catering colleges in the country. This will teach you enough to work on your marketing strategy.

If you’re serious about food marketing, do it abroad. While there are a few online courses for this, it would be prudent to do a full-time one, even if it is for shorter duration. Once you bag this, you will well equipped to enter this industry and fair well.

All good wishes to you. May you race along to become a super food marketer! Tasting requirements if any, may be referred to Dear MxM 🙂


Sir, I enjoy horse racing. I have been riding horses since I was a kid. Is there a future in horse racing journalism?

Hi and thanks for writing in..

To be honest, riding horses and writing about them are two very different talents. Great racing journalists may not even know how to ride!

Having said that, I must confess that in my opinion the answer is NO.

Racing journalism is a dying art and today, the digital world has appropriated this segment almost entirely.

Every single bit of information is available online / on the mobile leaving these well-written columns hardly read by the younger generation of racing enthusiasts.

Indeed unfortunate, but even the sports pages of the daily newspapers are left untouched today.The lethal combination of television and online have taken a huge toll on print and reading as a whole.

No, this won’t see a remedy.This is part of the churn that life sees decade after decade.

Journalism is good but broaden your scope and you will have a dream run as you go along. All the best!


Recently, I left an organisation having worked there for nine years. Now, the new organisation has reneged on its promises. Is there something that I can do to ensure the company doesn’t cheat me? I don’t have anything in writing… And to think of it, this is a well-reputed media agency.

Oops! This is unfortunate. Companies going back on their word is certainly unacceptable and only shows the extent of professionalism or the lack of it..

You are probably lucky that you figured now. Well if there is nothing in writing then am afraid, you have very little chance of getting anywhere with your grouse.

You could however try and discuss this at a senior level in the company and hope to get some recourse. If not, go back to your old company and tell them you made a horrid mistake..

If you have done them well, they may just take you back in. As they say, a known devil is always safer. And yes, do remember that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Amen.


On that note I’ts time for me to say Sayonara. Wish you all a thrilling weekend with much rain, food, and great cheer. Take good care of yourselves. It does matter to us you know!


And thank you so much for writing in to us week after week. Please keep that going! All it takes is in-boxing us on superscribing ‘Dear MxM’ and your ‘City’ in the subject line.   Jaisurya Das, the maverick media-evangelist eats, sleeps and romances brands.. His cerebral consulting interventions are aimed at making brands powerful and sustainable. He is also co-founder of Need more information on his work? Do visit,


Jaisurya Das is also Contributing Editor of The views expressed here are his own.


Related Stories

  • No Related Stories Found
Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.