"When you don't take efforts to brand yourself, the market brands you in ways you don't like"
..And almost immedietly, I knew what the problem's been all along.
Brand 1: Smooth flirt, woman's man
Brand manager: De bose @ werk
Act 1 Scene 1
Background: A very serious Strategy session has just concluded and after some really animated discussions, everyone is relieved that the meeting and the day has come to an end.
Sibee(with that mischiveous tinkle in his eyes): So Remgi, now thud dates er finalized en the first review ees on 31st, hev yoo told the Tesk Force Heads about the shedyool ?
Me: Yes Sibee..I just sent out that mail before I came into the meeting.
Sibee:So yoo wond be coming no ?
Me: (Irritated) Yes Sibee..As I mentioned earlier, I will be on leave"
Sibee: Chennai no ? Maybe you can dial in..
Me: (More irritated) No Sibee, am not going to Chennai
Sibee:Then vere ?
Me: (First signs of visible frustration) Rajasthan
Sibee: Oooh, so wedding is in Rajasthan ?
Me: (Even more irritated) No Sibee.. Wedding is in Delhi but then I am going on my annual leave to Rajasthan
Sibee:Very good very good...So yoo er going with femily nuh ?
Sibee: Friends ?
I stare at the ceiling and mumble "Yeah"
Turning to all the other 'green belts' in the room "We wond esk him if its gerlfrend or just a gerl who is a frend"
All dumbasses laugh..some of them wink at me..They obviously expect me to blush and offer a denial..Dammit..They aren't getting one...The truth is I am seething in anger..But just as I feared the topic is not over..yet...
Sibee: Remgi, sumthing dells me yoor next vacashun will be differend
I offer a tired smile. You can never win.
Act 1 Scene 2
Background: A dear old friend from the past has just joined the company. The induction procedure is such a pain that she's skipped out and is bored stiff. Just like its been in the past, unfortunate me happens to be 'the chosen one' to entertain her.
She: Hellooo sweetheart
Me: Jesus Christ.. Don't you ever do that again !! And what's this perfume that you are using ? Its so strong....Yuckkkk
She: (a hurt tone) Acha wala hai..cost me Rs 900... Kyuun you don't like it ? Smell it properly nuh
Me: Omigawd...forget it..so why are you here ?
She: I'll tell you the story as we eat ice cream...Chalo nuh Jupieee...
Me: First don't call me Jupieee...
She: Whyyyyy ? I can't change
Me: ok listen..I just had my coffee...Can we do it some other day ? Besides I am kinda busy today
She: (with a naughty smile) Don't tell me you have a problem handling a hotttt woman
She: Or maybe you are embarassed that people will see you walking around the campus with a pretty face ?
Me: Will you please stop that ?
She: (a disappointed tone) So mere liye yeh bhi nahin karoge ?
Me: Woman...ok.. let's go.. but you treatin'
She: Uffoo...I'll pay
She tugs at my arm and pulls me along like a babysitter handling a kid. I am embarassed as almost everyone in the floor is silently stealing glances towards us. In fact some morons even stand up and stare openly at us. We reach the door and I am just about to use the access card to open it when I see my boss at the other side smiling like a devil. I hastily avert his eyes and let him through..
Sibee (chuckling with glee): Remgi, I hope yoo dond forget thet vee hev a meeting at 5 O Clock...
..and the time is just ten past 4. Damn. Damn. I mumble a quick reply and try to make a hasty exit hoping to salvage a teeny weeny bit of my pride but I can sense that behind my back, stories have already started circulating. Now icecreams with her can be a long drawn affair simply because not only does she have to eat her own and narrate those stories, she has to eat mine too. Time flies and before I can realise it is ten to 5.
Me: Hey, its getting late..Lets walk back.
She: 10 more minutes nuh.. My last presentation is at 5..arre wait baba..
Me:But I have a meeting at 5 and I don't want to be late
She: So you're dumping me ?
Me: Please.. EB doesn't work here..
She: Nothing ever does.. Not even TLC
She: Just 5 more minutes I promise
When she is finally through with the story its 4:57 and I run all the way back to Tower 4 to my boss' cubicle. Unfortunately he is not there. I try to call him on the cell but its engaged. I rush to my seat and check my mail only to find that the venue has been shifted to Tower 8, the other end of the campus. I half jog only to reach Jade by 5:06. When I enter in, half the crowd is missing and the meeting has not yet started. I start off my apologising for my late arrival but Sibee's eyes are twinkling and he says
Sibee: No Prowblem..Yoo must hev been bisee..Venew was changed becoz more peepul ver coming..I dind koll coz I dind want to disterb yoo. Btw, Remgi next week is femily day @ Wipro
Trust my boss to say it all in one line and hit where it hurts the most.
Brand manager: My bro
Act 2 Scene 1
Background: Friday evening fone call
Bro: Mama, may I have the honor and pleasure of your company this weekend ?
Me: Machaan, would love to ..but am kinda busy...
Bro: Which woman are you screwing ?
Me: Asingumma pesadha da
Bro: I just wanna know the truth and only the truth...Which of your women is is this weekend ?
Me: Dei.. Its not that.. I have work on Satuday so am going to office and on Sunday one of my pals is coming from Chennai..
Bro: What's her name ?
Me: Its a he..
Bro: Liar Liar..
Act 2 Scene 2
Background: Friday evening YM chat sequence
Bro: Why don't you ever call me ? Lets meet up this weekend.
Me: Would love to..but can't..
Bro: I know there are NO women in your life... So don't even try that excuse..
Me: Was actually hoping to tell you that I can't come coz I am sick but since u started it, make up your mind..Am I a womaniser or not ?
Brand 3: Shy nerd, Softspoken doormat
Brand manager: The Family
Act 3 Scene 1
Background: Yet another wedding
X Chithi: Dei kanna, why are you sitting in that corner so shyly ? Come over here nuh...
Me: No Chithi.. I am comfortable here..
N Mama: This is a marriage and in such social occasions you should meet all your cousins and mix freely with them
Me: But I hardly know neone mama..
R Athai: How will you know people if you don't go and tok to them ?
By now these folks have summoned all the young kiddos around and I am slowly but surely getting scandalised.
X Chithi: Ranjan, you know Anna here was so studious in school.. He was always first rank..You should concentrate on your books, only then u can become like Anna..Tell him nuh.."
The damage has been done and the look on 6 yr old Ranjan's face is one of sheer contempt and disdain. He can't believe someone who looks so cool could have been so stupid in his childhood... Alas !!
N mama: And did you know, Anna was such a well behaved boy...When we went to their house in Trichy in 1988 his mom asked him to go get us vethalai at 9 pm and he still got it for us. He is so helpful to his mom...Aarthi, you should learn from him.
If only Mama has known the tantrum I had thrown that night...And yes, 16 yr old Aarthi thinks I am nuts. She is already a rebel in the family - short hair, no kitchen work, no Carnatic music or Bharatnatyam classes...
R Athai: Most importantly Shriram, see Anna, he is 27 and so far not a single problem for his parents.. No love, no girlfriends...
Shriram: He's too old anyways.
:-( This was getting from bad to worse..Here I was being insulted in every possible way in front of Gen Next and I was helpless.
Brand 4: Agony Uncle
Brand manager: Pals from time immemorial
Act 4 Scene 1
Background: Yet another cribbing session over YM post lunch
M: I just can't stop him da...All he does is talk about the last restaurant he ate at, the last party he attended..
Me: Why do you put up with him ? Just walk off nuh...
M: Are you mad ? He is so cute...
Me: Hello... wots that got to do with his long boring bhashans..
M: You don't understand..Neway today he is wearing a grey sweatshirt...droooooool....
Me: Why am I even listening to this ?
M: Coz he still hasn't asked me out.. and I am sick of waiting...N there isnt neone else who'd even bother to listen to this story.
Me: Then why me ?
M: Coz ur the best buddy I have...
Me: Geee..Thanks...Forget him..I am kinda busy now..Can we chat up at 4 pm..
M: Can't...We have a team meeting at 4 and I just hope he notices me atleast there... Till then you dare not run away...Keep chatting...
So here I am... Different things to different people when all I want to be is a regular 9 to 6 bloke...C'mon, gimme a break guys !!
Disclaimer: Some names have been changed to ensure privacy ;-)