Monday, 29 September 2008


I so chose the wrong day to be sleepy and hung over. My neck hurts. My head hurts. *Coldplay album title* happening. Dammit.

Note to self. You're a noob. No more drinking till 2.

Yeah, get used to these postlets. April Jhayu is back.
Points for guessing the album title. Bunny Singh, Kurtnirvana excluded.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Goa Update 3: My Roman Holiday

Required reading: At least, Lady Bastard's Part 2 of Part 3. If you're in the mood for more reading, then My Goa Update 2 as well.

So after that wonderful session with Sanjay Khare, which in turn was after that absolutely lovely session on branding with our CEO, they decided we've had enough lovely sessions for the day (I'm pretending that whole fiasco of overshooting our budget 3999 times didn't happen). And so, we were lugged in for the briefing on our Roman Holiday.

Now when we were being given the instructions, one guy in our team (our vice-captain) got all excited, and kept telling us to chill, and he'd tell us why he was getting so hyper and all that. When instruction time was over, we were shown our materials and he practically started hopping on one spot, singing, "Haan, we did this last year, no problem!" and "Ours was the winning design, the OE last year had told us that this is the optimum design!"

So with that kind of optimism brimming in the team, we charged into the game, all ready to win and crush our opponents like little bugs, slit their stomachs, ride over them in our charriots resplendent with the colours of war... er... sorry. Too much Percy Jackson for me (even though that's Greek mytho, same Gods, so big shit.) Anyhoo. So with all that confidence, we moved into the game, and the Vice-captain and I entered the arena to work on our machine. I was given a razor and told to get started on some cuts to be made on two bamboo sticks. Working industriously, I did so. Eventually, those cuts were not used. Heck, a lot of shit started to fall apart for us, with my eventual role as a stick holder, keeping one end of a stick in place with my foot while he did all the work. Not that I minded, I think I was just ruining things.

Anyhoo, ten minutes outside of time, we had a contraption that my vice-captain declared ready for use, but not one he'd be proud of. And so, without so much as a test run (I mention this because the team was damn kicked about it), we carried the contraption off to the playing field to see how it would fare. There was a nice list of criteria that had to be met by the design, including such points as:
  1. It must be free standing.
  2. It must be self propelled.
  3. It must not fall flat when you fire it causing your eternal embarrassment.
Okay, so I made up the third one. But yeah, there were eight or nine such conditions. Once we were satisfied that we were meeting all the conditions stipulated, we got ready. We had to make a best of three runs and try to get as much distance as possible, so we set it up with great apprehension. We pulled back the sling, set the trigger, and nervously prepared ourselves for the shot.

With a silent prayer, our brave VC pulled the trigger. With bated breath, we watched the tension in the elastic rubber bands set the ball in motion, as it was flung out of our contraption. Soaring through the air for what seemed in the little universes in our minds like minutes, it traversed the space-time continuum to land at a spot a fair distance away from us. In unison, the entire team began to rise, looking at each other with congratulatory and somewhat conspiratorial expressions, cheering ourselves. We were just about to start some natural, unrehearsed, primal dance of joy to make other teams jealous of us when we heard the magical word uttered by our OE.


Suddenly, the world of slow motion ceased to be. The dramatic lights and the Chariots of Fire theme in the background faded. The wheel rolled off our mighty chariot, the leading jockey fell off the horse, the model tripped on the runway halfway through her pout, the broadway star forgot his line, the VC and I almost collapsed onto our contraption. Together, we turned incedulously to our OE and said (still in unison, yeah, we were a pretty together team), "WHAT????" "Foul," he calmly repeated. "Your VC's foot was on that end of the catapult. The rules clearly state that the catapult must be free-standing." Of course, most of us had stopped listening long ago, angry and frustrated at (my best guess is) having given no input on this event whatsoever. Nonetheless, grudgingly, we resolved to make our remaining attempts.

Grumbling, and with sound and utterly unnecessary, unhelpful advice (yes, you know the type, everyone's got it at some point in their life) from our teammates (such pearls as,"Now be careful, haan? Don't put your foot there, okay?"), we set up our machine for the next throw. Two throws went without incident, and the best of two measurement came to a crushing 15.8 feet. To me, it looked more like 6 or 7, but heck, who am I to argue? We got the necessary bonus points, and somewhat pleased with our performance, headed out to dinner.

Dinner was (and I remember this for a reason, which you will all see soon) chinese food. Schezwan rice, some type of noodles, and a gravy dish I didn't venture near. As I ate the noodles, I realised I was eating some form of aperetif for starving bulimics. Moving on to the healthy serving of rice, I arrived at the positive conclusion that it was badly disguised pulao from the previous day (this is why I remember). Luckily I was saved from having to eat it by our then Director, now VP, let's call him Rat-a-tat-tat (because when he talks, it's like tommy gun fire) who, wrapped in a shawl, without footwear, and sporting a staff, asked me to make arrangements for a device usually accompanied by several drunk people.

What it was, why it was needed and what was done with it, will be made amply clear another day.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Just to let people know

I've got more posts in my head right now than I can get out here. Nonetheless, jotting down is happening to see if I can put them out later.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Welcome to the Adblog: Append to Goa Update 2

By popular demand (read Still's asking and Che's taunting), I'm including a taste of the ads that were shown by Mr. Sanjay Khare at our post-lunch session.

He showed us more campaigns than I can bring out here, so I'll highlight the most prominent one. The Economist.

Their print ads were powerfully visual, and ridiculously simple in their message.

This is possibly their most famous ad, beginning a trend that they carried long and far.

The red and white became a symbol of the Economist, a theme they used very successfully. And the copy continued to be cheeky, as you can see.

Here are some examples in other media.

The campaign was so successful, other companies started to ride piggy-back on it; I think this one image tells the story rather well (click on it and see it in full resolution, it's worth it) .

The red rectangle went on to become so well known, that the Economist entered a new phase in their advertising. The name was no longer needed to know who the ad was for, as you can see here.

Finally, after a very long time, they've decided it's time to move on, so they've started an entirely new campaign. I'm not going into that, but I will link it. If you want, go check it out.

Still, I hope you're happy. And that you've learnt your lesson.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Goa Update 2: *nudge nudge* WAKE UP!

Soory about the delay. Week's been crazy. Anyway.

Recommended reading: My Goa Update, Lady Bastard's Part 3. Oh, yeah, make this an announcement, too. Maniak shall henceforth be referred to, by his own volition, as Lady Bastard.

But yeah, that's how it began. See, there were points for punctuality on this damned trip, and we were supposed to report at 6.30. So when one of my roomies (probably the one responsible for the bathroom door locked from inside) woke me up and had me look at my watch, I felt not sligtly un-pissed that it was closing on 6.38 am.

Thankfully my friends had been kind enough to at least call room service when they woke up, and gotten that damn door unlocked. So with a hurried brush of the teeth et al, I too found myself in a circle of P******mers some 60 odd strong, standing on one leg and roating my arms or some such nonsense. Yawning, grumbling and jumping in the air screaming, "SKY!!!!" we finished the exercises only to be led off by our respective OEs to learn that compasses were not just cool things to have on your wrist strap. After acing the knot test that came thereafter, my only intention was to fill up on caffeine and grub.

At the CEO's presentation, we had the task of making a brand of jeans and positioning it in the market. After much haphazard discussion with my team, we decided to make a brand of jeans for those not able to buy expensive clothing, but who wanted to be in fashion. Yeah, the real Indian urban youth that has an aspiration to be somewhere and whatnot. So, we made a brand of jeans called iDENTITi, cheap, yet stylish, so that people would stop buying knockoffs at Fashion Street that fall apart in two days. Yes, you read that right. Our competition was knockoffs. Possibly not the wisest thing to have done, in retrospect. Whatever. Moving on.

Post lunch, I had the distinct impression that I was going to fall asleep in the session. I was proven wrong by one Mr. Sanjay Khare, a prominent art director. This is a major point Mr. Drunkenness left out, because he doesn't remember the BRILLIANT visuals on the ads that were shown. I was wide awake through the whole exercise. The project after that, of course was a different story. We had to draw a campaign for the hotel we were staying at. Draw. Now, I kid you not (my family will attest to this, if ever you get a chance to ask them), my art skills are so bad, that when I draw Santa Claus in Pictionary, the first few guesses include 'chinese burglar', 'bum', 'vagrant' and 'ragpicker'. Anyhoo, we settled on an image of a beach (which we so weren't able to draw) with a table and beach chair under those gigantic umbrellas with a line saying, "Because an open mind needs an open space, Suncity Resort, Baga."

The final session for the day was on the financial aspect of the company. Woo the hoo! My Bachelors classes all over again. I could faintly recall having sat in lectures where these concepts had been explained before. Yummy. Maybe we'd do well at this! So when we were given Euro 2,50,000 to make a plan for massage chairs, we drew up a financial statement where our expenditure in Year one was Euro 1 bn. Needless to say, our presentation crashed and burned, but heck, we got points for trying.

I'll pick up on the Roman soon. I'm guessing if you've been to Lady Bastard's blog, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Goa Update 2

Maniak's put up the next installment of the Goa Miniseries. Go check it out. Yet again, he's been thoroughly inadequate on the details, and remembers jacksquat, so I'll have to fill in again. That'll happen tomorrow, mostly.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

This Is NOT A Religiously Intolerant Post.

For those of us in the Indian context, especially from what I've seen in Mumbai, ask yourselves this. How many beggars have you seen saying, "Yah Allah!" and how many saying, "Bhagwaan ke naam pe de de"? In my experience, as much as 90% belong to the former.

Let's get things straight here. I'm not saying that Mulsims are more likely to be beggars than Hindus, or any such rot. I'm not a religious fundamentalist. Fuck it, I'm agnostic, with a deep sense of respect for other people's faiths and beliefs. All I'm saying is that of the beggars I've seen, most tend to appeal to Islamic sensibilites.

Personally, I put this down not to a matter of faith, but of optimisation. I've read somewhere (my readers are more than welcome to correct me if I'm wrong about this) that a follower of Islam must, by his faith, feed a hungry man. Holding that statement as accurate, conceptually speaking, that increases the prospects of a beggar, especially in a heavily multicultural city like Mumbai.

Damn. I see marketing wherever the hell I go. Sheet!

Completely tangentially, if you're agnostic or an atheist, you might enjoy this, and this, the original letter (you'll get it if you follow the link). I know I did.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Goa Update: I Was NOT Tempted.

There you are, folks! As promised, Maniak has decided to be thoroughly useless by being sketchy on the details, possibly because of his alcohol induced stupor, so I'm going to have to take over and oblige you with more than you could ever imagine. Plus, he only talks about himself, so I'll have to do the talking 'bout me part.

Before you read any further, I'd recommend reading Part I, Part II and PartII of Part II (especially this one if you're not big on a lot of reading, in which case, I'm wondering why you're still here) of Maniak's miniseries to help you with a frame of reference. I'll wait. Also, I'd prefer if you opened in a new tab and didn't go away leaving me all alone.

Che, you owe me for this. Four links in the same post. Damn.

Back? So, yeah, if you went to Part II, and are wondering, no, I'm not going to plug my ad unless the good people ask for it. How completely shameless of me. Anyhoo. Moving on.

Coolness. So you know what we're talking about.

Now when our Outbound Expert (OE) was explaining this thingie to us, I got the distinct impression we were going to have to do this for real. I had visions of me bravely balancing on a plank trying to get across a sea of acid (yeah, my OE said acid, Maniak's said lava) and swinging nimbly from tree trunk to branch to safety. All those visions were shattered when we saw where this was happening. On a concrete floor. That was probably made to be a volleyball/beachball court of some torturous sort.

Now our stint at Temptation Crossing came after about an hour of waiting for 6 of the other 11 teams to finish. We'd been watching teams like Maniak's doing their thing, finding their own way across, and decided that we need a major team meeting to decide on strategy. At said meeting, we determined that immunity is a vital thing for life in general, and that as many of us as possible should try to attain it. When we started out to do it, however, that equation chaged drastically.

We realised that what we'd been pointing at and saying, "He shouldn't do that, he should do this!" wasn't remotely as easy as it looked. Nevertheless, it became my job to get across the first stage, come back, and now happily immune, help every last one of my team members across. Believe me, bending to pick up tiles, walking around a person, and placing them back on the ground, only to repeat it several times so the person may proceed, is not a fun thing to do. Especially if you like your thighs and calves not to burn. While I was screwing my legs over for the rest of the week thus, two of my teammates who I had already taken to Checkpoint One moved on through the second phase. By the time I was done getting the last team member across the first stage, they had returned to Checkpoint One, earning them immunity there.

And then the great carrying began. I was lifted bodily (and rather effortlessly) and taken to checkpoint 2 before I even knew what was happening, while the rest of my team strategised how to get everyone else across, seeing how I'm an featherweight and everyone else isn't. Eventually, the two warriors decided, to hell with it. We can carry anyone. And so, while I broke into stage three, they carried every single person to Checkpoint Two.

Stage three was pretty simple. Jump from circle on the ground to circle on the ground slightly further away. Then walk on the kind of beam you'd have trouble keeping a nail balanced on. Then do the whole jumpy thingie again, with an even greater distance. Oh wait, that's just one way. I had to do it again. In reverse. Unsurprisingly, seeing how this is pretty much how I spent the first fifteen years of my life, I managed it rather easily, if I may say so myself, and was received with much amusement and amazement back at Checkpoint Two. After helping one of the macho men across and back, we proceeded to carry most of the team across this stage too. Our team captain, however, refused to have this happen, claiming there wasn't a chance in the world that we'd be able to carry her. Jumping wasn't a strong suit either. So we went with the next best alternative. They said you couldn't step in the acid. They never said anything about immune feet on the acid. So the vice-captain and I offered our feet, on which, apologising profusely, out team captain trod one by one, getting across to the other side. We got like the second best time! Woo the hoo!

Anyway, after an activity like that, with thighs still not feeling the sting, I still wanted to stay at the resort. And then along comes Maniak with the Bunny Singh, all chirpy about stepping out of the resort to go have dinner out. I was initially resistant, but the simple arguments of 'good seafood' and 'cheap alcohol' won me over. When we got to the place that sounded a lot like Burrito, Maniak introduced me to an old friend of his, an acquaintance of mine, a rather elderly abbot. Thereafter, Kurtnirvana (who shall from this day forth be called Chinti, Charlie, Chiqita, or anything else I may make up) showed up with Linti, who was for the day, a vegetarian and so missed out on the *stares wistfully at ceiling* Calamari in Butter Garlic Sauce and the Goan Pork Chilly Sausages.

A little later, more guys from P******m decided to come to the same place, and a rather bright chap decided to buy me another friar. Having a couple of the neophytes, I was a little bit unsteady on my feet (though not as much as on the last day, we'll get to that someday), but the lot of us still set out to the beach next to the restaurant. Here, I promptly threw myself onto the sand, staring at the sky postulating the universe as an entity. Maniak will disagree. After spending a few hours here, we decided to head back to the resort, maybe catch some sleep.

Of course, once we got there, those plans changed. A bunch of people were generally chilling by the pool, but apparently decided that they needed to cool off further. So one by one, P******mers were rather unceremoniously introduced to Mr. Pool. Now, being prone to pneumonia, I decided the safe, and rather wussy course of action would be to run up to my room and hide. But, in true Maniak style, I decided WTF, let's just do this. Seeing three people wading out of the pool and heading menacingly towards me in an effort to reinforce that decision, I hastily removed all valuables from my person, and running in a much more effective circle (my attackers were hampered by the fact that they were sopping wet), I jumped rather ungracefully and ceremoniously into the pool.

At around 2.30, when I decided that I've cheated death (read fever) enough, I stepped out of the pool, collected my things and headed back to my room, realising that my roommates were perhaps long asleep. I weighed the pros and cons of going back and staying in the pool till they woke up, but finally, with a heavy heart and shivering fingers, I just rang the bell till one of them woke. Does the story end here? Of course not! You wanted details, remember?

Now, when one has just thrown oneself into a swimming pool with all of one's clothes on, the first thing one wants to do when one gets to one's room is to sneak into the bathroom, extricate oneself from said items of clothing and dry oneself off. But of course, the fates must conspire! My bathroom door was locked. From the inside. When both my roomies were outside. Leaving this mystery to be solved another day, I salvaged what pride I had left by changing and drying off in the dark.

Stories from the morning onwards will appear in time.

I thank you for your patience, if you made it this far.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Disappointing News

I've decided. A week in Goa is a lot to write about. A hell of a lot. And I figured Maniak's talking about it anyway, so I've decided to let him do it and append whenever necessary. I figured why duplicate? Besides, this way, when he exaggerates my stupidity (I don't deny its existence, only its extent), I can refute with my end of the story and let the good people of the internet decide which version is the truth.

For those in the OOCBC who don't want to step outside our elite circle, I guess I'll have no option but to beg your forgiveness and forward you to Muduu in general.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Wappy Budday To Me!

Sorry for the leave of absence; here's as good a reason as any to post...
It's my Budday!!!

Now I know you're waiting for something else, and Goa posts will come soon; I haven't the time just now.

So anyway, tonight, I'm going to go to a bar, and asked or not, I'm going to slap some id onto the counter and say, "I'd like my alcohol now."

And because I know you'll be disappointed if I don't put anything more than that up, here's a little postlet...

Official Proof That The Corporate Life Is Not For Me:

Note also the brilliant use of "fields marked * are necessary".

(Mind you, this is only about one third of the actual form. And 'Contact Number' is the only non-requisite field.)

Update (September 5, 2008):
I have no life. On my 21st birthday, I was at work till 9 pm, after which I went straight home to a bountiful but otherwise regular dinner at 11.

Moral of the story:
The day I became legally able to purchase/drink alcohol, I didn't see a drop thereof.