Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Creative Writing: 4 lessons you can live without

Michael Martin, the British Speaker had to resign for his handling of the “The Expense Report” scam. There is a lesson for all of us in this. First is it does not pay to be a British Speaker. It does not pay to be an Indian Speaker too. I have been one along with billion plus of my compatriots and have not been YET paid for speaking. On the other hand Bill Clinton gets paid millions of dollars for speaking. I guess it is the Universe’s way of balancing things. I do not also have smart interns working for me which also underscores the fact.

The second lesson is that Expense and Tour Reports creates more divisions in an organization than the CEO had originally intended. All the sales folks have their pet peeve against the accounts department. These are the people who will go to great lengths to prove that taking the space shuttle to go out of town is actually cheaper than taking the bus. “Otherwise, we would have missed the deal” is the common refrain. If countered with “We did not win the deal, anyway” would bring the rejoinder “We would miss the deal, more now”

The third lesson was taught to me in my management school. My professor Deven Dhanak used to say Expense account leads to extreme self confidence. To quote him “Every corporate executive reaches his peak level of confidence when flagging a taxi on an expense account”

There is a legend which goes like this (not mine, wish it was though)
Boss: What is this large amount on your expense account?
Sales Person: It is the taxi bill
Boss: Ok, I will allow it this time, but do not buy any more taxis in the future.
The fourth lesson is that writing tour reports is the ultimate exercise in creativity. I strongly recommend folks to write one in case you want to become a writer. If you are lucky you will write many. All I can say then is do not forget to bring photographs taken from space for your accounts manager kid's science project.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Current Events: You might be shocked

We had a running joke amongst the students when I was studying at B School. Studying is definitely a overstatement given the courses I had taken; Modern human dilemmas, Movie appreciation. The second one was not a course run by the institute but by us students. The joke was;
Me: I have stopped reading the newspapers these days
Fellow movie goer: Why?
Me: Same headlines
FMG: What?
Me: Times of India (TOI)

As regular readers of this blog would know that I like TOI a lot. Especially the last page where the paper writes about important events in a WAG’s life. I feel sorry for you, if you do not know what WAG stands for. It is Wives and Girl Friends. I always wanted to thank the editor for the uplifting photograph and pieces.

After the last page, I switch over to the middle page which normally gives extremely important life saving details Viz. Studies has shown that Viagra does not affect the eyesight of men. I feel it is total humbug. We men do possess roving eyes and are extremely proud of it. I am sure Viagra will only lead to more roving. As all of you know that Roving is a strenuous physical activity and would only contribute to strength and better eye sight.

I am actually thinking of buying a roving machine for physical training. The thought has not been converted to action because of TV Shopping. I am an avid watcher of TV Shopping channels. Here is another set of people who are interested in your progress by selling:

a. Sauna belts with Magnets: The svelte figured model promises that you can eat all the big macs and samosas and wear this belt. Voila, you will look like a Bipasha Basu look alike soon enough. Bad luck if you are a guy. Given such painless methods to acquire six packs why should I buy a roving machine.

b. Hair grower: This is not the actual name of the product, but I could not think of a better one. It typically shows a morose bald male who finally deduces that women are avoiding him like Swine Flu because he lacks hair. The TV presenter looking at the moroseness of his audiences throws in a Screw Driver set too. The whole deal looks too sweet to be true. The man orders the Hair Grower on the advice of woman who wears a Sauna belt. He goes on to apply the magic lotion on his head. The camera then moves in to future where he is shown with a shock of lush hair on his head. He is also accompanied by a blonde woman who requests him in a husky voice to tighten the screws in her house. Now you know why men like tool sets.

c. Revolutionary seating arrangement: This is an amazing product. The product converts itself in to Sofa, Bed, Yoga mat, Bar and also an F 16. Due to security reasons this product which costs all of 100 dollar is not sold in Taliban infested areas. You get a screw driver set with this too.

My only advice is that; do not indulge in carpentry work while wearing the Magnetic Sauna belt because it might get difficult to pry the bolts loose from it later.

I wrote bolts but wanted to write screws
To avoid the word overuse
Also prevent being misconstrued
PS: The first paragraph on TOI having same headlines is not mine.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Figured it out: Do not play jeopardy at home

I am sure that figures less than 10 catch people’s attention. It is the reason one comes across multiple pieces dispensing knowledge. The texts in blue are my thoughts while reading such pieces.

6 ways to get the job you wanted: It does not work if you want to be a male lead in a Priyanka Chopra movie. It did not work for AB Baby or John Abraham either. They got the movie part but only each other.
8 ways to make money (Even) in this stock market: Forget that the stock market exists and invest in bank deposits.
5 ways to make her tell “Yes” when she is telling “No”: You gotta be kidding. There is only one yes person in my house. I am not going let go of the job which I always wanted and the only one I have now.

In order to prove that I am not anti-establishment, here are my 2 ways to beat Recession.
You need to be a very rich person and in the market to buy a private Island. As this news report “For sale: tropical islands at recession-friendly prices” suggests that you can buy an Island at 50% discount. Hold your breath; not because you will be snorkeling but it is the same Island, Julia Roberts wanted to buy. This way you can sail away to your private Island and be out of reach of any recession. The additional advantage is that you can declare yourself as a separate country and print your own money with Julia Roberts on them. However I were you, I will take 2 precautions
a. Check the gas tank of the chopper for any stones
b. Print one or two denomination of money notes with the spouse’s picture also

You might say “But nobody is damaging my chopper because I do not have one and henceI am a good candidate for getting caught in recession”. It is for you the adage “A stitch in time saves nine” was written. You can ask what to stitch and what nine things it can save. All I can say 9 is less than 10 and it rhymes with time. As far as the stitch in time for you, to beat the recession is by marrying a rich person. If you are already married and your poor spouse really believes in “Till death do us apart” then you do not have any recourse.

Actually you have one; you can watch and emulate jeopardy. I am not talking about Double Jeopardy where the husband frames the wife for his own murder and then the wife seeks revenge by actually killing him. I am talking about the game show where the contestants are given an answer and they have to guess the question.

If your wife walks in a beautiful dress and then you blurt out “How big you look in the dress”. I promise you that your wife will not practice double jeopardy; she will kill you once for all. As far as I checked, Recession does not touch the dead.