Monday, April 6, 2015

Panchatantra with a twist - The Blue Jackal

A jackal, Chandaraka, driven to seek food in a town by hunger is chased by a group of mongrels and hides in a vat of blue dye and ends up getting dyed blue. Later, when he returns to the jungle, he finds all the animals - including the large predators like lions, tigers, panthers and wolves - fleeing from him in fear, since they had never encountered a blue jackal. Seizing the opportunity, he claims to be a special creation of God sent down to rule them. He is duly accepted as King and appoints various animals to various posts. He banishes all the jackals from the jungle. One day, a distant pack of jackals start howling and Chandaraka joins the howling. Recognizing that he was but a jackal and not a special creation of God, the other animals pounce on him and tear him to pieces.

* * *
Actually, you know what, there is an inside story to this tale. Or did you really think that a jackal, no matter how blue it was dyed, could think on the spot and make use of its color to become the King of the Jungle? This is how it really happened.

Chandaraka poked his head out of the vat and peered around fearfully. The mongrels were gone. Before they could come back, he jumped out of the vat and raced out of town. The jungle lay invitingly in front of him but...

"Hey! You look kind of different. What are you?"

Chandaraka turned in a flash to see a human clad in what they called a three-piece suit. Considering that it was forty degrees celsius in the shade, there was only one species of human who would walk around in such hot apparel - and it was most certainly not hunters. And that thing hanging in front - tie, humans called it. They must be ashamed of having lost their tails and were trying to do it artificially, but why hang it in front, instead of back and lower where it belonged, Chandaraka had never understood.

Feeling less fearful than he had felt with the mongrels, Chandaraka turned to the human who he was sure was some sort of management chap.

"I am just a jackal. I jumped into a vat of dye and now I am this color. The mongrels chased me out of town and, now, I am sure that I will be torn to pieces by the animals of the jungle. You know how it is - we beasts do not tolerate anything different. Can you suggest a way to remove this dye?"

"Are you mad? Here you have a Unique Selling proposition (USP) and you want to get rid of it?"

"I don't have any Un..Uni...whatever. I only have this useless dye on me."

"THAT shows you have no sense of marketing. It does not matter if it is useless. All we have to do is to use it to create Brand Equity for yourself."

"Bra..Brand what?"

"Look! What is the issue, here? You are blue and look like no animal ever seen in the Jungle, right?"

"Y..yes!" said Chandaraka doubtfully, not knowing where this was leading.

"Well...instead of thinking of it as a flaw, think of it as a unique attribute."

"AND I will be uniquely dead", said Chandaraka, showing a dash of humor.

"Stop being pessimistic. All you have to do is to make it SEEM special. How would it be if...hmmm...ah! You can just claim that God made you specially this way and sent you down."

"Uh! Sent me down for what?"

"For the salvation of beast-kind, maybe? sort of thing sells only with humans. Sometimes I think that THAT is the sixth sense we guys keep talking about...say, why not to rule the jungle?"

"Uh! You will just get me slaughtered by the lion"

"Hush! You are too pessimistic. You just do not know the advantage of adding the word SPECIAL to anything that is unique to a product...huh...person...uh...beast. We marketing guys have made people believe that someone who wears the right clothes is fit to run a company, so why cannot a jackal dyed blue rule the jungle?"

"And sold yourself, too, on the idea, going by how you dress" thought Chandaraka. "No wonder the human race is going to pot, if they are really being run by clothes dummies"

Aloud he said, "What if the beasts do not think like humans?"

"What have you got to lose? You will only get slaughtered, then. But that is what will happen if you try nothing."

THAT was convincing logic. Chandaraka started trotting to the jungle, when the management chap gave some parting advice.

"Don't ever let on that you are only a jackal. Nothing kills the magic of the USP faster than it being considered ordinary."

AND you know the success of the marketing strategy. Alas, that Chandaraka failed to remember the parting advice and destroyed his USP by displaying his ordinariness.


  1. Ah! you management guys...what all have you been influencing! enjoyed reading this one!

    1. Thanks, Titli! Yeah - We have been sort of ubiquitous, have we not? :)

  2. Marketing fundas in the backdrop of Panchtantra- interesting.

  3. I finally learned what USP means :) Really, I used to think that the letter P stood for point!.Panchtantra is of course a timeless and extremely fascinating work, but it seems to become even more so in the hands of management types, I think! Look forward to seeing more of such twists in the tale here.

  4. Wow Suresh! Old wine in new bottle is potently heady:) Some more please..;)

  5. ...and the marketing guy shrugged his shoulder and walked on ... an interesting interpretation to the old tale!

  6. These series are very interesting but beware of your own ilk--you are revealing their secrets!

    1. Hahaha! Why do you think I am doing this after I have safely retired, Indu? :)

  7. That was a fun read Suresh ... The jackals should have had multiple meetings with his adviser....then he would not have forgotten the crucial piece of advice :)

    1. Most clients tend to cherry-pick advice from what is told them by the consultants :)

  8. I think two similar stories are playing out in the country.

    1. Ageless stories - they keep repeating themselves :)

  9. Indeed ! Branding. Only thing is in real life they never get caught and are never torn apart.


  10. They must be ashamed of having lost their tails and were trying to do it artificially, but why hang it in front, instead of back and lower where it belonged, Chandaraka had never understood.

    Finally! Never did understand why men made themselves so uncomfortable by wearing those neck chokers. Thanks, Suresh, for letting us all know the reason--must be true too, they are missing those tails.

  11. should compile it in management panchtantra and sell it :P