I, Ignominy!

ignominyForgive me, for I have sinned. I am a jerk and an asshole and the biggest sinner since Britney Spears. I adhere to certain principles in life, as we all do, and I try beyond my abilities not to go against any of them. Some while ago, when I was still in school (7th grade, to be precise), I became a purist of the English language, and I have a track record of being grammatically, politically and syntactically correct whenever I use the language to write, speak, SMS, email or abuse. And yesterday, I sinned.

I had ranted about the ridiculous PR lingo a while back, and to this day, almost a year into my career as a PR man, I strongly believe that the PR lingo needs a major upheaval. There are phrases like ‘dipstick’, ‘revert back’, ‘backgrounder’ and other molestations of the language, along with a stream of utterly infuriating acronyms like MRR, WRR, SR, ER, MOM, MT, PC, SC, C and AC. See, I told you, it’s a nightmare.

So anyway, my fall from grace, my hour of shame, my ignominy was this particular sentence I said:

“The jerk’s gonna send me the boilerplate in a while…”

I said it and I froze. I think I’m more suited to work in a foundry than in PR. I can’t believe I actually used the word ‘boilerplate’. I am doomed.

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

Image Courtesy: Dallasarena.com

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The Hazards Of A Public Relations Occupation

funny_choking_hazardAnd I thought working in a coal mine in Siberia was dangerous. Public Relations is a field which only the brave pursue and only those with a casual disregard for personal safety excel in.

When I signed on for a career in Public Relations, I knew it would involve daily death threats from irate clients and journalists (For example, there’s this homosexual client called Mr. B, who’s sleeping with the bisexual editor of a popular national newspaper and I’m not supposed to tell this out to anyone), but I didn’t expect bodily harm.

Yesterday was a gloomy Tuesday, with dark clouds threatening to douse the city and a cold wind that seemed never-ending. I arrived a bit late than usual, courtesy dirty traffic and a full bladder, and went about my work with the right mix of boredom and enthusiasm. It was somewhere around two in the afternoon when I realized just how dangerous my line of work is.

I was sitting at my desk, reading an online news release, when I dropped my pen on the floor. As I bent to pick it up, the chair I was sitting on creaked a bit. I didn’t give it much thought as it always creaked. Just as my fingertips touched the floor, I heard a deafening crack and the damn chair snapped in three! I fell down on the floor quite awkwardly, with a heavy thud. The entire office was silent and I lay there, dazed, wondering what in the hell happened.

Slowly, people realized something was wrong and crowded around my cubicle and helped me to my feet and made me stretch just to make sure that nothing was broken. More than embarrassment, I was angry at a friend of mine was suggesting a diet which clearly wasn’t working! ๐Ÿ˜€

I realized a bit later that I had cut my thumb quite deeply during the fall, I don’t know how that happened, and that my butt ached painfully all through the day. That I am accident prone is an understatement.

The Remnants Of The Disaster
The Remnants
The Cut
The Cut

I wanted to name this post “Return Of The Yo-Yo,” because my bike ran out of fuel on my way back and I had to push it for half an hour bearing the paining butt, and then stopped for another half an hour waiting for my friend to come and rescue me with some petrol, and during that wait, I almost ate a dirty omlette on the street and refrained after seeing the ‘cook’ scratch his butt and his armpits and wipe his hands on a dirty lungi, but I thought the current title would be ample proof for people who want a career in Public Relations to think twice and thrice before embarking on the most dangerous job in the world.

PS: That was the longest sentence I’ve ever written! ๐Ÿ˜€

PPS: The ‘B’ in Mr. B, obviously, stands for ‘Bastard’. ๐Ÿ˜€

NewsCracked! :)

newscracked

Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the BNN ICN 9 o’ clock news! Today’s breaking stories:

1. Big Sobb Season 2 ends in dramatic fanfare!

2. Akshay Kumar wears pants inside-out!

3. Madhuri Dixit misses a gray hair while combing!

4. IT company employee sneezes!

5. Aviation minister is high. Literally.

… and other important, earth-shattering, life-changing news stories! Only on BNN ICN. Stay tuned!

For God’s sake, give me a break! Some punk winning a reality TV show is prime time news? To be aired again and again? To be repeated in nauseating detail? To call up that punk’s uncle over the phone and talk to him on National TV?

I thought these news channels were a bit sane. Apparently not. Absurdly enough, this piece of ridiculous ‘news’ was aired right after a brilliant coverage of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. Talk about losing the plot. ๐Ÿ˜€

I should start my own news channel, and air only news that I think is important or worth airing. I wonder how long that channel will take to become famous. I’d call it ‘NewsCracked’… ๐Ÿ˜€

The PR Lingo! :)

Being a public relations man has exposed me to a lot of interesting words and phrases, things that I’d never heard before, and things that caused me considerable distress (being a language purist) when I first heard them. Some of these are:

1. “Sit on this” – This is used while referring to an issue that has to be discussed or a crisis that has to be handled or a presentation that has to be finished or a document that has to be written and just about anything that has to be done. “Don’t worry, I’ll sit on this and finish it!”sounds more like a chicken-murderer plotting his move rather than a serious professional, but I’ll have to adapt! ๐Ÿ˜€

2. “Revert back” – A grammatically incorrect connotation of the more popular “Reply back,” this phrase generally refers to the process of replying to emails, text messages and phone calls that have to be returned. When I first heard the sentence, “Nikhil, the client has sent us a time for the meeting. Please revert back to him,” I had a sly smile all day long! ๐Ÿ˜€

3. “Collateral” – Completely and absurdly contrary to all the accepted definitions of the word, “Collateral” in PR lingo refers to any and all documents that the PR firm gives to its clients, including the clients’ profile and companies’ background. This is quite a strange term to use, because every time I hear, “Nikhil, have you seen the collateral?” my mind thinks of the movie! ๐Ÿ˜€

4. “Dip Stick” – Ahem! :mrgreen:
All perversions aside, the phrase “Dip Stick” refers to a survey conducted among journalists, to gauge their understanding of current affairs (Yeah, right!). This happens whenever a brand new company is formed and we call up journalists and ask them, “There’s this new company called so-and-so. Have you heard of it?” More often than not, the journalists hang up the phone! ๐Ÿ˜€

5. “Boiler Plate” – I first heard this phrase a few days back, when someone asked me, “Nikhil, where’s the boiler plate on this press release??” I looked back blankly and said, “Uh, what the fuck are you talking about?” Apparently, this refers to a brief note about the client to be included on all press releases! Weird, indeed! Something of a pot-boiler to spice up a bland release? ๐Ÿ˜€

So, there it is. There’re a few other weird instances where the English language has been massacred, but I think I’ve sinned enough for one day! ๐Ÿ˜€

Image Courtesy: Cartoonstock.com

The Day I Almost Died…

Well, not exactly. But I came dangerously close to losing my life. ๐Ÿ˜€

I live a dangerous life. My job takes me all the remote corners of the city and more often that not, I end up rubbing the wrong people the wrong way. No, I don’t give back rubs for a living, but something close. Whenever I fail to make my clients look like God’s gifts to mankind, and end up looking bad in public, they scream bloody murder and run behind me with guns, knifes and swords, baying for my blood. A few days ago, I almost regretted being in this business. ๐Ÿ˜€

Everyone would probably agree that the word “jobs” does not mean “people”, literally speaking. This schism between the two words is enhanced if they are used in a sentence like this: “We’re offering jobs…” and “We’re offering people…” ๐Ÿ˜€

Journalism is losing its charm in this country and when this happens, the quality of people entering the field drastically comes down. Exceptions aside, all the new kids in journalism are very green, with loads to learn, starting with the difference in meaning between the two sentences above! When a multinational company’s CEO is quoted as saying, “We’re offering people…” I tend to get a bit nervous and fear for my life. The moment I read this quote in the paper that morning, I gulped and crouched under the table, and sure enough, ten minutes later, the hits started pouring in. ๐Ÿ˜€

“Whom do we offer PEOPLE to??”
“We offer PEOPLE??”
“What sort of a joke is this??”
“Where do you stay??”

and so on…

The CEO wanted me killed. The mafia had a gleam in their eye, wondering about who it was that encroached on their human trafficking business. The MD of the company wanted me killed. My friend, whom I was doing a favor by promising him a quote by the CEO of the company (it was technically his client) wanted me killed, fired and then shot. The bloody journalist was “not reachable” on his phone. ๐Ÿ˜€

This is the last time, I thought to myself, that I help out people outside my clientรจle. I’ll stick to my own circle and face the music on my own, with the number of people baying for my blood reduced by half, well under the panic limit. ๐Ÿ˜€

Desperate and Penniless!

I’m a week and a half into my Bangalore phase of my life and I’m stuck in a quandary which, at first glance, may seem pitiable, but on the second, hilarious.

I have three credit cards and four debit cards in my wallet and not a penny, dime, nickel or rupee in cash. I was banking on swiping these precious plastic cards to get my way around the city, at least until I get my first paycheck. The first thing I did when I came to Bangalore was go to a nice, expensive restaurant for lunch with my parents and my younger brother and order everything on the menu, including the kitchen sink. (Well, almost!)

When the obsequious maรฎtre d’ arrived with the check, I grandly whipped out my wallet and selected my Capital One card and gave it to him. Eyes sparkling and mouth watering at the thought of a fat tip, the man went to do the needful. He returned a few minutes later, and I could see the hatred in his eyes clearly.

“This card doesn’t work in India,” he said, handing me the card back, and added, “sir” with venom.

I gulped. I took out my whole arsenal of plastic cards and gave it to him. “Use whichever works,” I said.

Unfortunately, none did. And fortunately, Dad had his wallet on him. He ended up paying close to five thousand rupees and tipped the obnoxious maรฎtre d’ a paltry ten bucks. He literally kicked all of us out. As a final revenge, he made us wait for close to fifteen minutes in the sultry afternoon heat before the valet brought our car to us. I wished I could disappear.

Since then, I’ve been absolutely penniless and desperate for any sort of financial help. And by financial help, I mean the occasional ten-twenty bucks for coffee, smokes and fuel. Dad still pays for the fuel, but grudgingly. I can almost hear him laughing inside – US-returned, my ass!

Come Monday, I start working for this pretty cool PR firm called Hanmer and Partners. I can’t wait to start, only to get my restlessness out of my nerves and more importantly, to get my hands on a card that actually works in India!! I’ve met most of my old friends already, caught up on old times and when its time to pay the check, I always fall back on this line: “Hey, its your treat this time! I paid last time!” ๐Ÿ˜€

Most of my friends are good-hearted people and they recognize a plea for help instantly and pay for me. Not for long, I keep telling myself….

Not for long. ๐Ÿ˜€