Thursday, November 05, 2009

Pat on the back, anyone?

"This event needs to be conducted as part of our CSR initiative" he says. "You know, Corporate Social Responsibility. We need to give back to society. We need to fulfill our responsibilty as an organization."

Wow! I think, feeling warm and fuzzy all over,the way only doing something meaningful can make you feel. Somewhere deep inside, there's always been a voice that's been telling me that I haven't been doing enough. Here is the chance to shut that voice up.

"What we have planned," he continues, "is an event on" (he pauses for effect) "Rain Water Harvesting," he says with a satisfied smile.

I blink twice, not sure that I've heard correctly. Rain Water Harvesting?

Yeah, well, okay.

It's been two months already since the monsoon has ended, so I was thinking of something more immediate and relevant, like putting one's hand in one's pocket and pulling out currency notes of large denominations, which could be put to good use, such as buying essentials like food, clothes and blankets, or pulling out a cheque that I would sign with a flourish. Not some gross activity that involves pipes and gutters and soak pits.

"We've asked Mr.Mehta, who's an SME, to conduct this event, and we need to complete this ASAP, within the TAT assigned by HO. We need everyone's participation, so please ensure that nobody's AWOL that day."

Subject Matter Expert, As Soon As Possible, Turn Around Time, Head Office, Absent Without Official Leave, my mind goes clickety-clack, clickety-clack, feeling like a battered old manual typewriter, picking out the abbreviations from his sentence and elongating them slowly and painfully.It's a whole different language, this Corporate-ese, where nothing is meant the way it is said, and you must never say what you mean. So, if you say,"We need to establish ownership of this process so that the concerned individual can liase with colleagues from other verticals to ensure that we achieve a synergistically effective outcome", what you would actually mean is, "We need someone to get this done and someone to blame when the shit hits the fan."

It's quite like SMS lingo---- do u undrstnd wht i mn?

While he's droning on about how it is the responsibilty of each one of us to contribute in whatever way we can to society, I'm thinking- Why don't you start the ball rolling, you supercilious snotbag, by not buying ties that cost roughly the equivalent of the amount it would take to feed a small starving country? Of course, I don't say that aloud. It really wouldn't be a very wise move, retention-of-job wise. It's a principle of a new kind of Zen I'm practising these days--The Art Of Holding One's Tongue.

On the day of the event, we've only managed to round up little kids who haven't learnt how to spell 'rain' and 'water' in school yet and will probably learn the spelling of 'harvesting' two grades later. Also present are their parents,who have only been kept around to rein in the kids in case they go wild with excitement (er...yeah, right).The kiddies sit transfixed by the moving images on the screen, probably wondering whether we'll play a DVD of 'Mr. Bean' for them next. But when people's eyes start glazing over,and one gentleman actually starts snoring, I am forced to adopt desperate measures, and ask someone to stealthily shut the power supply to the projector off. I apologise to Mr. Mehta profusely - there seems to be a technical snag that we can't fix, you see, Mr. Mehta, because we've hired this OHP and we don't know how fix it, so why don't you have a cup of coffee and a little something to eat while we start the quiz? Phew!!

One of the girls from my team has painstakingly prepared the questions for this quiz and has been rehearsing for it as if we have 59 countries participating and it's going to be telecast live internationally,bringing her unprecedented fame and fortune. However,a last minute dumbing-down of the questions is necessitated by the fact that none of these kids seem to be older than 7. She's a little flustered when she asks-

Q. Which kind of water is harvested in an attempt to recycle our natural resources?
a) Ground water b)Rain water c) River water

There's a little girl waving her hand frantically, and I'm really amazed that she would know the answer, till she says, "POTATO!"


I mean, ????????????

So on it goes, till we have the requisite evidence proof in the form of photos, to send to the CSR team, telling them that the mission has been accomplished, things have been learned, information has been disseminated, and the event has been a resounding success!

We're having the next event in two weeks' time on 'Prevention of Pollution and Waste Control' and I'm looking forward to it as much as I'd look forward to having needles stuck into my eyeballs, but I'm determined to make it 'fun' or die trying. You're invited. Come on over and commiserate celebrate!

No comments: