Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mush walks away with the HR award!

Oops... I forgot the announcement!

Pakistan's General Pervez Musharraf had another landslide electoral victory... This time in the prestigious HR award for superlative humility. He has defeated his nearest rival, Sheikh Osama Bin Laden by 18% of the total votes polled.

Take it away, Perv Musharraf!

October 31, every year…

It’s Kochu’s birthday!

I really wonder how people describe that the most wonderful day was when their brother/sister was born (usually a year or two younger)… It surprises me, because, that age you can’t even remember when and where to poop! To be honest, I don’t remember how Kochu looked as an infant; I was having trouble remembering my ABCs then… I guess.

Kochu was an extremely hassle-free child. She was God’s way of apologizing to my parents for giving me to them! My first memories of her were when she was probably a year old and Mummy said that I was not old enough to carry her. So, my first challenge in life was to be old enough to carry Kochu around and I still am trying! Chechi (my elder sis), and I, were about a year and change apart and we used to bring the house down with our fights. I can hardly remember an instance when we had fights with Kochu. In retrospect, she seemed like a re-incarnation of the Buddha!

Kochu proved to be a star at school too! She excelled in everything she tried – studies, sports, co-curricular… just like Chechi! And Kochu was (and still is) an extremely gifted singer. But unlike Chechi, she did not need to work hard and late. It came naturally to her. Actually, everything she does, is with a natural panache. I am yet to meet someone who has not loved her. So, it was no surprise that the only other person who could rival her, became her husband! Kochu is Dad’s pride, Moms joy, and Chechi’s best friend… My wife thinks she is the sweetest thing on Earth. As for me, she will always be my kid sister, who thinks she’s the elder one. We have a unique relationship and it always brings a smile on my face whenever I think of her. There's an old, black and white photograph of the three of us. I will always remember Kochu as she was then. Innocent, beautiful, precious…

So today, I leave my usual cynical self aside, and I pray. I pray that each of you have a Kochu in your lives to love and be loved. I pray that all her wishes for the rest of her life come true. Most of all, I pray that she always remain the Kochu we all love so very much! Happy Birthday sweetheart… and yes… mmuaaah!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Perfect World…

A very few people read my blog out of free will. Some I coerce, some I blackmail, the others, I force! Then there’s my family that read it out of unconditional love and have only good to say about it. My colleagues and friends read it more out of politeness.

So when the very few that read it out of free will suggests a topic to write about, I am obliged to oblige. So, here’s to Sue, who wanted to know about my IQ theory.

Caution: Overtly sensitive readers, please spare you and me the trouble. What follows is a veritable ‘Mein Kampf’ish ideology.

My IQ theory, like me, has a strong right skew. It’s my ‘Sistine Chapel’ of theories, and I intend to use it as a stepping-stone to my dream of becoming a God-man. This theory suggests that we live in a world that does not discriminate you based on your religion, race, caste, or gender. People will be segregated based only on their IQ which, for people with less than an 80 score, stands for Intelligence Quotient.

Some facts first:
Lewis Terman (1916) developed the original notion of IQ and proposed this scale for classifying IQ scores:
· Over 140 - Genius or near genius
· 120 - 140 - Very superior intelligence
· 110 - 119 - Superior intelligence
· 90 - 109 - Normal or average intelligence
· 80 - 89 - Dullness
· 70 - 79 - Borderline deficiency
· Under 70 - Definite feeble-mindedness

This formula works for well only for children. So, in the society of the future, every government issued ID, it will be mandatory to state the holder’s IQ. Privileges for the holders will be based on their IQ. The theory is extensive, but I present the gist of it here.

IQ Score of 110 and above: All privileges.

90 – 109: Not allowed to lead nations or hold a public position. These individuals will no be allowed to manage people with a higher IQ score.
Acceptable occupations: Drivers, ticket checkers, cashiers, postman/woman, etc.

80 – 89: Not allowed to drive, they can ride in a vehicle provided they are supervised. Will be required to take the stairs. Can marry; however, will not be allowed to reproduce.
Acceptable occupations: Coding, sanitation, house-helps, talent show contestants, etc.

70 – 79: Will require supervision while walking on streets, eating, interacting with others etc. Not allowed to meet people of the opposite gender. May participate in political rallies.
Acceptable occupations: Stunt doubles, waving for visiting dignitaries, play cricket, talent show judges, etc.

Below 69: Cordoned off in special gated communities. Allowed rations of food, water and oxygen. Not allowed to communicate or even think. May watch cricket, can send SMSes…
Acceptable occupation: Crash-test dummies, Kung-fu movies, Hindi soap operas, talent show audience, etc.

This intellectual cleansing of the society will rid you of most ills that we complain about in our society. And like any groundbreaking idea, it also has its negatives. The one main drawback due to which I was yet to formally present this theory is – lack of amusement. Most of us live to be amused. Amused by your colleagues, managers, friends, store clerks, actors, politicians… With the implementation of this theory, we will all lose that spice in our lives. So now you need to tell me a way around this. And I shall co-name you in my IQ theory for a better tomorrow… think of it…

Lemme know what you think. (In case you have a score below 80, I meant to say that you need to click on the link below, that says ‘comments’ and type your thoughts in the page that opens, and then… Oh forget it!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Afterlife...

About four years ago, when I announced that I was going to get married, my friends were very sympathetic… They told me, “Buddy, you’re dead!” Going by those words, I’m already in my afterlife, and I’m enjoying every moment of it! I wouldn’t have had it any other way… I have a beautiful, supportive, and intelligent wife, who’s adapted very well with the lifestyle change that marriage to someone like me would have warranted. And keeping my side of the bargain, I’ve been ‘domesticated’ enough to start living in a home. I still have a long way to go and I’ll get there… someday…

But what prompted me to write about marriage is this. Chiranjeevi’s daughter, Srija, elopes with her boyfriend of four years and seeks police protection from her family! Now the only reservation that the family could have had was the criminal history of their new son-in-law. But the 19-year old has managed to turn it into a media circus, what with the event being covered live and later, sitting in for a call-in program on national television answering questions and basking in congratulatory messages from equally juvenile callers.

The only thing that comes to my mind is that the constitution should be revised to not allow anyone with an IQ score lower than 90 to get married. With that, we will not have a dumb kid, taking the pants off her family on national television… ever! Sirish Braradwaj, you are a dead man! This man has bit off more than he can chew, and his afterlife don’t look good to me L Come on! This guy knew her for four freakin’ years! No prizes for what’s going to happen within the next four years…

The reason I mentioned IQ, was because it’s easier to measure than intellectual maturity. Some people mature fast, some normally and some don’t. My younger sister was intellectually mature when she was 10! I reached there sometime when I was 25. Let me try and put this in perspective here. Answer the following question:

You are in the final year of college. On your birthday, your father promised to buy to a PlayStation 3. He buys you a computer instead. What do you do?
a) Accept the gift graciously. Afterall, you can still play games on it :)
b) Cry and throw a tantrum till dad buys you the PlayStation.
c) Go postal and break the computer. You wanted a PlayStation, for cryin’ out loud!
d) Get the message that your dad wants you to study, not play around. Top your class.

Now compare your answer:
a) 5 points. You have the maturity of ‘The Walker’. Keep Walking :)
b) 0 points. You are as mature as Srija or Karunanidhi. See a Psychiatrist.
c) –15 points. You are comparable to Ted Bundy or Osama. Shooot yourself!
d) 10 points. You are intellectually on par with my younger sis. Apply for Mensa.

See what I mean. So, for all you guys, please come back here and take this test when you are required to take an ‘intellectually mature’ decision. Needless to say, you need to score 5 or 10. If you do score well, you can expect a reasonably good life in your afterlife.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

HR award for superlative humility…

“Where there is faith, there is no fear”

This award honors individuals for their audacious belief in themselves or their causes (which they invariably link back to themselves)…Great men and women, who have made bold remarks, outrageous suggestions, amazing deeds… Just like HR (sorry Human Resource folks, I’m talking about the one and only HR – Himesh Reshammiya)!

Love, they say, makes you do things you never thought possible. And only when you love someone, do you realize its strength. Shah Jehan built the Taj Mahal for his wife, Bhagat Singh laid down his life for his country, and HR makes a movie – ‘Aap ka suroor’… For himself. Alas! Only if people loved each other even with a trillionth of HR’s love for himself, the world would’ve been such a wonderful place. But hey! This post is not about HR… I’m just drawing inspiration from him for this award category. And your nominees are:

K Karunanidhi – The Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, India.
Senility has done many things to many people, but not what it has done to our man… He questions the beliefs of a billion-strong nation based on his expert understanding of religion. More on this old geezer here.

Osama Bin Laden – The savior of the world (from the capitalist American pigs)!
Self-belief is good, very good. Better if you are leading a legion of misguided zealots who are willing to kill for ‘your’ cause. And over a period of time, this belief manifests into reality and all you see around you is what you believed in… OBL’s call for the US to convert to Islam is in itself, a lesson in humility. He has also donned the mantle of peace with his assortment of causes. Do I see a Nobel peace prize on its way?

Pervez Musharraf – The only good thing to happen to Pakistan after al Qaeeda.
Mush has contested and won elections in Pakistan. The landslide victory, he claims is a tribute to democracy. The others are crying foul, but little do they know that this victory was as tough for Mush as a 100-meter dash with your hands tied… alone, of course! Even his ally OBL has expressed his concern over his victory.

So, who is it going to be this time? I agree that none of these nominations can compare with SuperHR as far as their humility goes, but you tell me who is second best! As usual, you need to click on your choice and hit the submit button. And then you could use the comments section to share your insights and suggest further categori.

Keep Walking (and voting) folks...

(Thanks to GreatBong for the piece on Aap Ka Suroor)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gladiator... WTF?!

Well, as you can see for yourself, the Yamaha Gladiator wins the tightly contested 'WTF award for advertising excellence' in the Bikes category. Some of my readers were confused about the ad... well, to clarify for the last time, it was an ad for a bike and not a can of paint.

The Gladiator ad was a monument erected to draw attention to the pitiable state of afairs in our ad industry. Very similar to positioning Fanta as a levitation accessory. Even Goa pan masala beats these ads pants down!

For the time being, Gladiator is the daddy! The next award category coming soon :)

The Tifosi rejoice!

When the 2007 season began in Melbourne, it looked good for Ferrari. Kimi ‘The Iceman’ Raikkonen won in style and we were introduced to rookie Hamilton who finished on the podium in his maiden GP. Here’s a brief account of the 17 races and how the events unfolded.

Race 1: Kimi, Alonso, Hamiltom. (Kimi leads the standings)
Race 2: Alonso, Hamiltom, Kimi. (Alono leads)
Race 3: Massa, Hamilton, Kimi. (Kimi, Alonso and Hamilton tied)
Race 4: Massa, Hamilton, Alonso. Kimi retires. (Hamilton leads)
Race 5: Alonso, Hamilton, Massa. (Hamilton and Alonso tied)
Race6: Hamilton, Heidfeld, Wurz. (Hamilton leads)
Race 7: Hamilton, Alonso, Massa. (Hamilton leads)
Race 8: Kimi, Massa, Hamilton. (Hamilton leads)
Race 9: Kimi, Alonso, Hamiltom. (Hamilton leads)
Race 10: Alonso, Massa Webber. (Hamilton leads)

There’s a twist now… The ongoing ‘spygate’ scandal between Ferrari and McLaren is underway. Alonso threatens Ron Dennis (McLaren chief) by saying that unless he slows Hamilton down, he (Alonso) will hand over the evidence to FIA. Dennis does not give in and McLaren is found guilty!
The standings are: Hamilton – 80, Alonso – 63, Kimi – 60, Massa – 51

Race 11: Hamilton, Kimi. Heidfeld (Hamilton leads)
Race 12: Massa, Kimi, Alonso (Hamilton leads)
Race 13: Alonso, Hamiltom, Kimi (Hamilton leads)

Alonso and Hamilton are not on talking terms now. Alonso wants to be the No.1 driver in the McLaren team and the team decides on a no favorites policy. The spygate ruling sees Ferrari already crowned constructors champions. Its now down to the last four races…

Race 14: Kimi, Massa, Alonso (Hamilton leads)
Race 15: Hamilton, Kovalinen, Kimi; Alonso retires (Hamilton leads)
Race 16: Kimi, Alonso, Massa; Hamilton retires (Hamilton leads)

The standings are: Hamilton – 107, Alonso – 103, Kimi – 100. The rest are out of the title race. Here’s what each of them had to achieve in order to win the driver’s championship:
Hamilton: Finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd. If 4th, Alonso to finish 2nd or lower…
Alonso: Finish 1st with Hamilton finishing 4th or lower…
Kimi: Finish 1st with Hamilton finishing 7th or lower, Alonso finishing 3rd or lower…

Race 17: Kimi, Massa, Alonso; Hamilton 7th!

No thriller could have been this exciting, no writer could have dreamt of this finish, but the prayers of the Tifosi have borne fruit. Ferrari are the world champions – Constructor and Driver. Boy, oh boy! What an awesome season it turned out to be… Kimi wins his 15th GP and his first World Championship. The Iceman smiles. Jus as we have come to expect of him, he does not get his emotions in the way even for the press conference.

Now, it doesn’t seem very likely that Alonso will stick to McLaren. Renault is only too eager to have him back. Hamilton will remain with McLaren. Kimi and Massa will race with Ferrari again in 2008. Kingfisher now has an F1 team. I can’t wait till next season!

Sources: BBC F1 and Fromula 1 official website.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Where are we headed?

See you guys in hell… or wherever!

I am a part of numerous mailing lists. Some are funny, some loony, and some are outright torturous. And then there are the religious ones… While cleaning up my mailbox, I saw one that sent shivers down my spine… I realized that I was going to hell! Just like most people I know. And going by the mail, I guess that will be where more than 99% of us land L

The mail was about the seven deadly sins, also known as the Capital Vices or the Cardinal Sins. And I don’t know why, but the first thing that came to my mind while reading that was food! Believe it or not, food often evokes feelings in me that are otherwise quite latent. And that is why I will go to hell.

Lust – no other word in the English language can better describe my feelings for food.
Gluttony – it is a common occurrence.
Greed - the thought of food makes me drool!
Sloth – there is nothing I enjoy more than a siesta after lunch.
Wrath – woe betide anyone who keeps me away from my meals!
Envy – I envy most cook show hosts who travel the world just to eat…
Pride – do I pride myself on my appetite?!

I am a foodie. Yes! I love to eat. Rarely does anything match the satisfaction I derive from a tummy full of goodies. Some consider me a glutton, others, a legend. Frankly, I don’t give a damn!

My mom is an excellent cook. And she loves people who appreciate good food. So, it was little surprise to people that I am her favorite child. (Sorry sis, but that’s the truth!) She used to equally dote on all my friends who had this admirable quality. And so do my aunts, my elder sister, mother-in-law, some friends, and of course my wife. My cholesterol levels, BP, other vitals are good and way below borderline risk (Touch-wood)! So, I ain’t going to hell any sooner…

I was told that a hearty appetite is the symptom of a happy mind. A soul without worries or guilt, a heart that loves and is loved. And I believe it, for most people I’ve met with good appetites fall into this category. In most Indian cultures, when a prospective groom declines to eat, he is politely refused any alliance from the household. It’s going to be one hell of a party down there…

And I’m not for a moment saying that all people who cannot eat well are twisted… It’s just that I find it really difficult that people starve themselves to look anemic, anorexic, malnourished, and terminally ill! These losers may go to heaven; I don’t envy them a bit! Blame it on generation gap, but I still prefer people who are healthy – Physically and mentally. After all, only in a healthy body can a healthy mind survive. Oops! Now what kind of people go to heaven now?

I leave that up to you to decide where you want to be headed. Probably I got it all wrong and I might just end up ‘up there’… Like I say, there’s only one way to find out… Wherever I end up, I am reassured to think that I’ll be with like-minded folks. I that reassurance, I Keep Walking…

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ads that make you go WTF...

The ‘WTF’ award for advertising excellence.

Advertisements are usually what we always end up watching on TV... So what better category to start these awards with? It has always amazed me that companies that can afford to pay obscene money for the air-time are not willing to pay a fraction of that for something creative? Especially the pan masala ads! Never seen a good one! Even otherwise, there's a huge list of ads that make you go WTF! Oye Bubblyy, Pepsi TV (Pepsi), Fair n Lovely, Harpic, Swagat Baniyan... the list is endless. And, they never stop!

So, we try and rate them here and vote for the worst, the one that offends your senses, sensitivities, sensibilities, sanity, intellect...

Category : Automobiles

1) Yamaha Alba:
Hot babe sees dude riding a Yam. Sighs deeply (almost climaxing) while thumbing for a lift. Dude doesn’t care and rides on. Hot babe goes on to get the bike tattooed on her back! Thumbs dude again for a lift while turning around. Dude stops and says, “The new Yamaha Alba”. Hot babe retorts, “I’ve got it too”, and turns around. The two ride away…

2) Yamaha Gladiator:
Babe with a gang of boys in a club. Loser dude (the kinda guy who would be perfect for the MLTR crib song, “I’m not an actor, I’m not a star”) is smitten by girl. Takes out a can (mind you – a single can) of paint and does a graffiti of babe’s face on the wall. Babe smiles, kinda bites lower lip… Stud with girl defaces the painting. Loser dude sprays paint on stud’s shirt, grabs babe’s hand, and runs for it. Cut to loser dude and babe locking themselves is a shed of sorts and the gang of boys beating down the door. Loser dude then gets a bright one and proceeds to do another graffiti, this time a bike. Bike comes to life, Loser dude and babe smash wall and ride away!

3) Hero Honda CD Deluxe:
Architect boy gets call letter from an American company. Gets on his ‘deluxe’ to mail his Visa application. Just before mailing it, he asks himself, “America mein aisa kya hai jo India mai nahi hai?’ Realization hits him and he tears the application into pieces, litters, and rides away (now you know why we love it in India!). The catchline goes something like, “India ka naya deluxe bike aur seat pe naya Indian!”

So, cast your votes, on the left of your screen. And vote for the ad that really makes you go WTF! Send in categories and nominations using the comments section!

Announcing The Walker Awards For Excellence

And the award goes to…

Well, here’s a series of Awards being instituted by ‘Keep Walking’. The inspiration comes from the famous Darwin Awards. These awards, “honour people who ensure the long-term survival of the human race by removing themselves from the gene pool in a sublimely idiotic fashion.” Click here for the Wikipedia article.

The modus operandi is pretty simple. I shall nominate up to four (or maybe more) entries, and the winner will be decided by a poll online (not SMS). You may suggest both award categories and nominations in the comments section. The post will be updated to include popular entries and the poll results close in a week. All original entries shall be acknowledged :)

The categories could include anything under the sun as long it is stupid enough. Movies, books, TV Series, websites, politics, celebrities… anything! For, if there’s one constant in the human race, it’s stupidity. And it never ceases to amaze you! Some people go through extreme hardships to prove it, some are natural. But they walk among us, indistinguishable from others until the inevitable…

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sad, Misleading Scams…

Who will win? SMS IND or AUS to…
Who will be the next Indian Idol? SMS your choice…
To wish Musharaff on his birthday, SMS your message to…
Who will be the next contestant to be ousted? SMS your option…

Like I care! But it seems that quite a lot of us do… Just look at the number of people who send in their entries for such asinine stuff! All the while, it’s the (media) producers and the mobile operators who laugh all their way to the banks! When will the ‘blue billion’ realize that it is a rip-off?

And what is the guarantee that the SMS polls are actually used to determine the winner. Take the case of Abhijit Sawant. Gimme a break! Do you actually think that millions of Indians wanted this loser to be our ‘Idol’? Preposterous! The only poll that someone like him could hope to win is “Do you want this guy out of your face?” kinds. Let’s face it; we Indians determine winners on the basis of many factors, talent NOT being one of them. Case in point: ALL your talent shows! For a perspective, Indial Idol 3, about 700 million SMSes poured in. And an average premium SMS ranges from Rs 3 to Rs 10… you do the math!

The news channels have adapted this trend too! Apparently, it’s too good a gravy train to miss… And as a rule, if your audience thinks so, it has to be true! Talking about how responsible our media is, take a look at Ravi’s post. We are, however, discussing the oh-so-gullible Indian masses and SMSes here. And all the masala associated with it.

The premium SMS service, as I’ve already said, brings in obscene money for the operators. I don’t believe the operators when they say that the audience does not mind these rates. It’s like Musharraf claiming that Nawaz Sharif wanted a holiday in Saudi! But no matter how expensive, that does not deter bored aunties from voting (and gathering on streets) to show their support. Talking about aunties, I recently came to know that the soaps are also going the SMS way! No, I’m not talking just about the ‘SMS KSKBT to... to set it as your ring tone’ variety (dayum!) but these days, you can SMS options for the storyline… Possibly something like, “What do you want Tulsi to do next?”
A: Stare him down for a further 10 minutes
B: Cry in her trademark ‘constipated or sneezy’ style
C: Give a lecture on morality that would make Osama Bin Laden squirm
D: Cut scene, show someone else cheating on someone else
Send your option A, B, C, or D to….
That is the cue that our aunties wait for, and they get into SMSing frenzy! And the Ekta Kapoors of the world don’t even need ad revenue!

I tried an SMS poll once. Something to do with the World Cup 2007, I believe… Sent in my entry, got a reply to choose another option, and another and another till I gave up! Patience was never one of my virtues. But I fail to understand how people get hooked on to it and send away all their extra money to the ‘deserving’ producers and mobile operators. How selfless! Well, I don’t belong to that category. I just Keep Walking…

P.S.: To join the rally against SMS scams, Type F*** You on your mobile phone and send it to...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

National Shame?

It always comes back to this. The Indian cricket team lost today at Baroda... extremely, extremely, shamefully! I was expecting this, to be honest after the T20 hysteria. We are like this only...

However, what got to me early, were the commentators on DD National. They had invited a dumb-looking 'expert' commentator, who was going on and on about how India is sure to make 350 plus on this dream batsman's pitch. He opined that this was the sort of pitch that bowlers had nightmares about (or something like that). I was as usual, running around trying to finish my morning chores and get to work, so the volume was turned up and I could hear him being egged on by two equally insipid hosts who thought he was the cat's whiskers...

After the toss, this dude seemed to be on the seventh heaven and suggested that it was a sign from above! Well, it didn't take him too long to change his views. Within a few minutes (a few wickets later), he went on to say that this is the 'perfect bowler's pitch and that the batsmen were sure to face hell. The equally asinine co-commentator agreed only too enthusiastically! I was getting extremely amused by this chap! Alas, I valued my job more and that overcame my need for 'morbid amusement'.

I later heard that we were bundled out for 148! I thought to myself, hmm... that dude could've been right. The next I heard was that the OZs beat us pants down, with 9 wickets and about 25 more overs to spare! I thought to myself again, hmm... that dude could still have been right. Now that's what I call an opinion for all occasions! Attaboy!! He should've been in politics... Kumaraswamy seems to be the only 'true blue' politician who has the courage to go back on his words and keep the tradition alive... (Post Nayanar, but of course)

Rather than having such morons on air commentating, we should have them in the team. They would at-least (serve as 'nazar-tattoos?' and) help to ward off the evil eye on our team... The least that these types do are to act like a bad omen. Mandira Bedi did that to the Men in Blue during WC 2003. At least have good-looking people for Chrissakes!

But you got to give credit to our boys as well... We shine where there's no light. Our batsmen create perfect bowling wickets, and our bowlers make the ultimate batting wickets out of nowhere!

No wonder, there are some people (like me) who feel quite strongly about it. Hell who wouldn't? Out of about a dozen countries that play the game, can't we still be the best? All our sponsorships in sports are directed there! So, what do people like me do? We 'adapt' or 'internalize' jokes to suit the need of the hour! Here's one:

A primary teacher explains to her class that she is a fan of the Indian cricket team. She asks her students to raise their hands if they, too, are fans of the Indian cricket team. Everyone in the class raises their hand except one little boy. (Obviously Chhottu)
The teacher looks at Chhottu with surprise and says, "Chhottu, why didn't you raise your hand?"
"Because I'm not a fan of the Indian cricket team," he replied.
The teacher, still shocked, asked, "Well, if you are not a fan of the Indian cricket team, then who are you a fan of?"
"I am a fan of the Australian cricket team, and proud of it," he replied.
The teacher could not believe her ears. "Chhottu, why, pray tell, are you a a fan of the Australian cricket team?"
"Because my mum and my dad are OZ cricket fans, so I'm a fan of the Australian cricket team too!"
"Well," said the teacher in an obviously annoyed tone, "that is no reason for you to be a OZ cricket fan. You don't have to be just like your parents all of the time... What if your mum was a prostitute and your dad was a drug addict, what would you be then?"

"Then," said Chhottu, "I'd be a fan of the Indian cricket team."

Now, that's a boy who's bound to Keep Walking :)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sorry... gotta rush!

If you’re in the corporate world, you’ll never get enough of them! You hate being in one of them, but you’re always rushing from one to another. What is it about them that always draws people to it like flies to a flame? And why is the corporate world so obsessive-compulsive about it? No one word in the office evokes such a wide plethora of emotions as this one. This post is dedicated to this monument of management. Meetings – The favorite management pastime!

The question, “What is a meeting?” is yet to be answered. Though most of us have been in one, none of us can really explain it. But this enigma continues to thrive in the corporate world. A tougher question yet is, “Why do I have to be a part of a meeting?” and the generally acceptable answer is, “Because my boss is bored” or, “Someone needs to feel important” or even “Damned if I knew! I’ve been attending this since the time I moved in”. I shall try and clarify my understanding and you could also help me out here…

What is a meeting? Hmmm… A meeting is a form of expression. I endeavor to generalize a few validations for an interaction to be counted as a meeting:

It requires more than one person. It would be silly to announce, “I am going to meet me”. If someone actually does that, this will lead to another meeting of his supervisors, peers, and anyone else interested to determine if the company can afford to institutionalize him.
More than one person speaks in a meeting. This is unless some people are allowed to speak at home.
A meeting has a specific agenda. This is a must. But there is no rule that the discussion has to be around it. You may call a meeting about growing attrition and end up with a heated discussion on the geopolitical scenario.
It is time-bound. Again flexible. People may come in about five minutes to the meeting (if its your boss, he’s on time, if it’s you, you have nothing better to do), five minutes into the meeting (again, if its your boss, he’s had something better to do and if it’s you, you need to be more punctual). Some people even rush in about the time things are getting wrapped up. Your level in the organization determines the attitude of the attendees.
You agree to meet again. This is mandatory and is the only rule that is sacrosanct. You have to carry on the flame.

You may have a meeting for many reasons:
Reviews: You made a collective commitment. If you’ve kept it, the review meeting is a happy event. Otherwise, you become the object of collective hostility and ridicule.
Projects: You decide to do something. You make a team with the hope that someone actually will know how to… You get together and fix responsibilities. This is generally followed by a review.
Goal Setting: You are bored. No one knows what is to be done. You call a meeting at an exotic location (preferably a resort), eat, drink make merry. You then come back and decide to hold a ‘project’ meeting for the same participants to achieve the objective.
Budgeting: The simplest! You have money; you meet and decide how to spend it. You don’t have money; you meet to find out who’s spending more.
Pre-Brief: An activity is planned; you meet to decide how to go about it. You lay down the ground rules and hope everyone sticks to it.
De-Brief: After an activity, you chat up to see how it went. Goes well with cocktails.
Appraisals: This is the only meeting you wish you never had to attend! You realize that your boss actually knows more that you do… at-least about what you’ve been asked to do.
Interviews: This process usually follows the appraisal. You need to replace someone that quit following an appraisal.
Exit Interviews: Almost as inevitable as the sunset. What comes in has to go out. An employee decides to leave; you want to know why. Bad decision. Now that s/he is leaving, they would generally speak their mind out about you and your organization, shattering a few beliefs.
Rituals: The most common variety held for about the same reason you celebrate Gandhi Jayanti. It’s been that way and I don’t want to be the one that changes it!

A meeting makes a manager and not the other way round. A manager is incomplete without a meeting. It’s like a smoker craving for a drag. And it requires no specific reason but to satisfy your need to feel important. And even though most people in a meeting can’t tell a pie-chart from their elbow, you keep a grim expression and keep nodding (for whatever reason). And I’m positive that most of you are reading this in between meetings or on your way to them. I know I’ve written this between (ahem… and during) them.

But I have to add that I love them. They amuse me no end. Especially the way some people behave! It’s as if their life force was derived from the amount of entertainment they unwittingly provide us. My work life would be a drag without meetings. I shamelessly admit that. So, in and out of meetings, I Keep Walking!