Getting off my mobile fone, I checked the wristwatch frantically for the 14th time in the last 60 seconds...Trust these cab drivers to be big fans of Murphy. Yesterday almost everything had gone off like clockwork only for the cab to be stuck in traffic. As a result, the customers (Lets call them A and J) arrived a good hour and a half late, tired and irritable. Today things seemed to be a total mess. For starters, the meeting was in BANYAN, a conference room in T7 which was not "home ground" for me. So when I came in to check if all was fine at 8:45 am, a good 15 minutes before the scheduled arrival, I was totally unprepared for the sight that met my eyes. I took out my well documented list and carefully ran a check through all the items
1. The projector - not working (called Admin and shouted - volume: level 3)
2. Coffee and Tea - not set up yet (called Admin and shouted - volume: level 4)
3. Water - I can see a big jar full of water but there are only 3 glasses and not 5 as we had requested (called Admin and pleaded)
4. Screen and markers - Dirty and only 2 fading markers were there
The mobile rang again. The sweet voice (need to check who it belongs to) at the other end said " Sir, your customers are here. Could you please come to Gate 6 to pick them up ?" It was only 8:50 and the damn buggers were early. Damn. Ooops, sorry - After all, Customer is King. Requesting her to hold fort for sometime, I went about setting the house in order.
5. Lighting - the room was dark and I was sure nothing productive could emerge out of a meeting in this dingy place. I tugged at the strings that controlled the first set of blinds and they opened. I tried to open the second set but they were jammed. I gave up. (called Admin and shouted - volume: level 8)
By now the admin person Manoj had rushed over in response to my SMS (Save My Soul). After fidgeting with the projector for a good 2 minutes (longest 120 seconds of my life) finally there was an image on screen. Unfortunately for me, it was in a horribly dull yellow color and the text was all blown out of proportion. Manoj asked me for 15 minutes to replace it with a new projector but I knew we did not have that much time. I could sense that we were facing a potential disaster. It was then that I hatched a devious plot in my mind. I smirked. A nice quiet smirk. I gave some last minute instructions to Manoj and rushed to the gate to receive my customers.
Only when I reached the reception and checked myself out in the glasses did I realise that I was not exactly dressed up for the occasion. Nike sneakers, a loud checked shirt, informal trousers and a two day Anil Kapoor stubble..Well.. It could have been worse.. As expected A and J were dressed in business suits. They gave me a quick lookover and it might have been my imagination too but I thought I saw a pair of disapproving eyes. Hastily escorting them back to BANYAN, I noticed that the Coffee and Tea had arrived and the screen had been wiped clean and new markers had been put in place. Winking at Manoj who held the door open as we entered, I seated the customers opposite the blinds. It was clearly a little dark and I asked them if we could open the blinds to let in more light. They agreed and J got up to help me out. I moved in swiftly, reached out for the blinds that worked and effortlessly pulled them up. J, meanwhile, tried to open the other set but was unsuccessful. After a few attempts, he was clearly embarassed and gave one almighty tug at it. The blinds did open but unfortunately the string snapped (just as I had hoped and prayed) and all the beads dropped down to the floor. J was clearly rattled and I put him out of his predicament by dismissing it as not his fault. A, meanwhile had connected his laptop to the projector but on seeing the yellow image, was worried if there was some problem with his laptop (I had known beforehand that his laptop had crashed yesterday). Everything was falling into place and I knew I could now buy time. I asked A and J if they would mind having some hot tea whilst Manoj cleaned up the room and we got someone from our IMG team to see if we could fix the problem in A's laptop. They happily consented and as we walked out towards the open space, I winked again at Manoj. The IMG person who had been waiting outside with the spare projector quickly ran in, feigned as if he was looking at A's laptop and smartly fixed our own projector, walking out pronoucing everything was fine in 10 miutes flat. Manoj meanwhile cleaned up whilst we were sipping some 'really piping hot' tea. Its now been an hour since the second round of technical discussions started and I've thankfully managed to skip out again.
All is well that ends well.. But then sometimes I worry.. What would this company do without me ? And then....To quote our CSO Sudip, I thnk I have 4 roles (Marketing, Sales, Executive Assistant and Hospitality Manager), 2 bosses (the customer and the real one) and just 1 salary. Maybe I need to talk to the higher ups about this !!