Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Office Idlers

"General Profile"

Common Name of the Species – The Office Idlers
Scientific Name of the Species – Homo Inert Sapiens Loaferious (A modern mutation of modern human being. It becomes inert when reacted with any kind of workplace & are found loafing around coffee vending machines)
Found in – All continents except Antarctica; because the catalyst ‘Office’ is not present in Antarctica
Population – 99.99% of the entire human population (0.01% constitutes intelligent bloggers like me)

"Evolution"

This species evolved from human species (Homo sapiens & Homo erectus) during late 18th century and early 19th century which coincided with the Industrial Revolution. The mutations started taking place when major changes in agriculture, manufacturing and transportation took place. The changes triggered a chain reaction which altered the socioeconomic and cultural landscape and more office spaces emerged. Britain was the place of origin of this species. Initially the Homo sapiens at other places were not affected. But with rampant colonization by British, the mutations started rearing their ugly heads all across the world. The evolution has hastened in last two decades because of emergence of services sector and that too in densely populated countries like India.

"Identification"

It is common knowledge that ‘The Office Idlers’ outnumber normal human beings by 9999 times (See % in Population); it is still very difficult to identify them from normal human beings. This happens because they have developed special survival skills which create an impression that workplace doesn’t make them inert. Also the creatures belonging to this species don’t identify others of the same species because they fear that their own mask of diligence may peel off. So it is safely assumed that everybody is an ‘Office Idler’, but nobody acknowledges it and nobody accepts it. This has made things uncomfortable for normal human beings and tempts them to give in to the loafing mutations. Still intelligent bloggers have found out some fool proof traits to identify this obnoxious species. Some of those traits are mentioned below –

1. Vending Machine Prowlers – The Office Idlers’ favorite hang out place is the nearest coffee vending machine. Most of the times they are found talking loudly near these machines, discussing things animatedly with the other Idlers. The topics of discussion sound intelligent but they are remotely linked to their work.

2. Tech Crap Savvy – This species is highly tech crap savvy. The scrutiny of their laptops shows that they have devised ways to overcome all firewalls installed by their IT administrators. This helps them to create an impression of industriousness while they are actually chatting away their time, downloading music, and checking their mail boxes and Facebook profile several times a day.

3. Meetings Antics – They call meetings at the drop of the hat. They would call meetings for the issues which can be solved on the phone itself. They need to convene meetings to decide on issues like the performance of the printer of the office. Even if meeting is really important, they would be the ones who would discuss everything else apart from work like evening snacks, the hottest girl or guy in office, bitching about boss and complaining about too many meetings happening everyday.

4. Time Illusions – This species have an excellent control on creating time illusions. They are highly punctual about their lunch time and coffee breaks. They would stay back in office to surf net but would claim that they have so much work that they are hard pressed for time. They create an illusion that they spend 16-20 hours in office, but the reality is their productive work time is 2-3 hours a day. It’s very difficult to identify this trait, but a trained eye can see it.

5. Desk Manners – Their desk manners can be classified into two types. There are ones whose desks are spic n span – totally mess free. Now such manners are practiced by novice idlers, because it is an easy give away of their real species. There are others whose desks are stacked up with all kinds of documents so that they can disguise their inactivity behind them. Just ask them for a particular document. The idler wouldn’t be able to find it easily as he/she hasn’t touched that stack of documents for ages. He/she would also request you to give him/her 24 hours notice for retrieval of documents.

6. SOP Adherence – Whenever idlers are questioned about non achievement or non completion of something; they would generally attribute it to their rigorous adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures. Now no sane human being can really argue with an Idler over that.

My research on this species is a continuous process. I have also started doing some experiments on myself to get results in a controlled environment. Today I tried to put myself into their shoes by writing this blog before leaving the office. And I must say results are showing that Office Idling is highly addictive. I would be back with my next set of postulates and results soon.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The End of The MT

Last month my Management Training Program finished and with it ended the creature called MT (Management Trainee). “Creature? What do I mean by that?” There are two reasons for me using that word. One I didn’t find any other expression for the same. Second I don’t know the word for a human being in a transient state. Yes! I got it! Transient is the word. It sounds so right for what I feel about the MT.

Transient! I think I should devote some lines here to justify my usage of this word. MT Program was that part of my life in which I was supposedly getting transformed from being a carefree college guy to a civilized corporate executive. And this was the only transition in my life for which somebody else fixed both the time frame and the procedure. Therein is the flawed assumption, that all the MTs would be completely transformed in those nine months. More importantly it ignored the fact that some of us didn’t want this cruel transition to happen, as not everyone is unhappy with his or her bohemian existence. And few of us didn’t need that contrived transition because those few had already achieved there black belts in diplomacy and so called sophisticated corporate skills before coming here. So I think I rightly referred to MTs as creatures (Read Guinea Pigs) and not human beings.

Anyways let us come back to the focal point of discussion here. That is the significance of the end of this creature. The significance lies in the fact that this end marks the point of No Return for most of us. (Of course there might be a brave soul among us who would study again in a much better institution and may go through a reverse transition, but I believe that just would be a farce, because the end objective in that case would again be very similar to that of the so called objective of the MT program. That is to equip you with even better tools to face the world, the corporate world and not really to go back to the lazy afternoons & late night outs) No return, because we will be sucked into an incessant whirlpool of worldly responsibilities and duties. Now we don’t have second chances in life. Mistakes won’t be easily forgiven. Yes, there would be a lot of opportunities. But until and unless we do something drastic, the path of life has been set by the choices we have made so far. But redemption would be always round the corner. We would be presented by so many diversions on this path which might lead to exciting things. We have to be alert enough to identify them and bold enough to choose them. What if someone among us achieve Corporate Nirvana? No I am not referring to some position or vulgar sums of money. That can be achieved on the path which is already been set for us at the end of our MT program. Corporate Nirvana simply means sense of immense satisfaction and pleasure on accomplishing something which I just can dream of right now.

I may have sounded too cynical as usual, but there were definitely few things in this MT program which I would rather miss badly. I would miss reading all those books which I should have read during my MBA and even before that. Yes folks! MT Program gave me enough time not only to read up books on everything under sun, it gave me sufficient time to do self introspection. It was the time when I met some people who would be well known faces in years to come. This was the time when the company gave me an apartment to live in, which I couldn’t have, afforded otherwise. I also got an opportunity to meet few industry scions through this program whom I may not meet soon again. I also became more self aware of my habits, strengths and weaknesses and all that ‘Global Gyan’ which comes with it. And I feel that is true for all my fellow Ex MTs.

So on second thoughts this transition was not that bad actually. It let me live few more months in my normal lethargic state. It allowed me to bring my college to the company I work for. It presented me the grim corporate world gradually and more colorfully. It was the small step I needed to take to understand the Corporate Nirvana. So when it has ended it deserves a proper burial and the epitaph on its headstone should convey all the feelings I described in this post. It simply reads – “The End of The MT”

Thursday, February 28, 2008

BANNED!

Banned! Barred! Disqualified! Debarred! Excluded! Expelled! Forbidden! Proscribed! Prohibited!

The list is endless. The words are strong and reek of a place which would be least inhabitable. One would wonder that one gets to hear such words in some distant land, ruled by a loathsome dictator. India is a strong democracy – alive and kicking. Why should I fear such words? Everybody has freedom here – freedom of speech, freedom of expression… That’s what they taught me in school. Isn’t it? Then why these words keep ringing in my ears these days – newspapers, TV, mobs, individuals.

Everybody is practicing his/her freedom of speech. But the paradox is they utter only the “B word” – Banned! One has to be very correct politically when you are in a formal situation, where one has to follow a certain protocol. That’s understandable. But things take a bizarre turn when such vigilance is applied to art, movies, songs, singers, actors, activists and others of the similar ilk, by few publicity hounds, petty politicians and anyone who wants to have his/her fifteen minutes of fame. Sometimes these situations turn outright ugly and at times they are so whacky that it is difficult to even laugh at them.

“Ban Harbahajan Singh for his Monkey/ Maa ki business”
“Debar North Indians from coming to Mumbai”
“Expel Sania Mirza for showing disrespect to Indian Tricolor”
“Bar Sania Mirza for wearing short skirts”
“Exclude Sania Mirza for being the only successful Muslim Woman sportsperson in India”
(Give her a break!)
“Prohibit Shagun from cracking her PJs”
“Forbid Zaki for his idiosyncrasies”
“Proscribe me for writing this blog”

But the latest controversy takes the cake. So read on!!!

Firstly they said ban Jodhaa Akbar, because Jodhaa wasn’t the wife of Akbar. Instead she was his daughter – in – law. Now incest is considered a taboo almost everywhere in the world, so banning it would have been right. So why not ban those history books which we read in schools, where Jodhaa was told to be Akbar’s wife. Ban Mughal – e – Aazam where Jodhaa was Akbar’s Begum. Nobody even raked up this issue when Mughal – e – Aazam was re-released last year in its new avatar. Because putting down people like Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai and Ashutosh Gowariker would grab more eyeballs for TV channels than K Asif or Prithviraj Kapoor. Tearing posters and burning effigies has become a new fad in town. It looks good on TV. So people are doing it with √©lan. With every ban, every controversy, a bigger and a better effigy is there. Poor Ashutosh – even his disclaimer at the start of his Epic Romance didn’t soothe the fragile ego of few. So in Rajasthan it is banned.

Then there comes up another group in Madhya Pradesh, that says being a Mughal Emperor (Mughal Emperors have always been associated with tyranny by fringe and radical groups), Akbar can’t be shown in a positive light. That’s a sacrilege. So there was again a demand to ban it. What about the creative liberty of the film maker? He is crying himself hoarse to death by claiming that historians themselves have contradictory view points. Anyways Jodhaa Akbar was banned in M P for a week or so. High Court had to step in to revoke the ban. Judicial Activism! Phew!

If that wasn’t enough yet another group stood up and claimed that Rajput women actually fought a battle against Mughals, so they can’t be shown romancing them. Now that’s the limit. Even Ashutosh has agreed that the romance part of his epic is his imagination because no historian in Akbar’s era was allowed inside his harem. After all there were no paparazzi or hidden cams then. I wish the viewers had understood the fact that Jodhaa (portrayed by Aishwarya) in this version of Ashutosh, actually fought for her practices and beliefs even when Akbar was a force to reckon with and he gave in to her beliefs. It was a sort of triumph. Isn’t it?

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone stands up tomorrow and file a PIL against viewing of Jodhaa Akbar claiming that Aishwarya is Abhishek Bachhan’s wife, so she shouldn’t be romancing someone else’s husband. After all there is always someone hurt by something or other. Nobody goes to vote in one of the largest democracies of the world. But everyone has something in his/her scheme of things which should be banned!

I would also fulfill my part in this democratic setup. Jodhaa Akbar should be banned! It should be banned plainly because it is a BADLY MADE MOVIE (my views on the same require another post). It’s a LONG BAD MOVIE. It’s a TORTURE. Please someone BAN IT…