An evening in Barista
One of the greatest things about the Marketing course at SP was the fact that we got to do most of our assignments on the field. Needless to say, the pedagogy tended to place a lot of emphasis on 'Group work' but ground realities often offered a stark contrast to the Utopian principles under which the course was framed the way it was. Luckily for me, I was fortunate to be part of one of the best groups amongst our batch. To say that we were diverse would be an understatement since we had a fresher from IIT (Varun), a commerce grad (Koki), two experienced software engineers(Rags and I) and a masters in Business Economics (Shivam). Unlike a lot of the other groups, we were extremely clear from the very beginning that we would not waste our energies trying to pitch in for every assignment and would identify two owners, either by choice or by draw of lots, to take up responsibility for each subject.
Every wannabe marketeer knows that the key to success in the market is to understand Consumer Behavior and so when the first big assignment was a trip to Barista to observe a couple and report the findings, Rags and I jumped at the chance despite the fact that we had not chosen to own this particular subject. The initial enthusiasm was soon replaced by laziness and it wasn't till the day before the assignement was due that we realised we had a job at hand. Unfortunately most of the other groups had also not started on the assignment and so what happened was that the entire batch ended up flocking to the 2 Baristas in Juhu and Lokhandwala at almost the same time leaving little room for 'actual customers' to come in and be observed under the lens. By now, Rags and I had lost all interest and would have dearly handed it back to Koki and Varun if not for the verbal lashing we got from her. Bless her sweet soul :-) So dinner done, the three of us left for Juhu (she refused to trust us to do the outing by ourselves...In fact, she was right.. we had actually planned to cook it up..) at around half past nine leaving us with a little under two hours before curfew.
Once we reached Juhu, we weren't surprised to see two other groups already sitting there with the guys ogling at the half naked women and the gal-in-the-group desperately trying to get them to focus on the academic assignment. We ordered a couple of drinks, observed two sets of couples for an hour, got bored and returned to the hostel promising to send the final presentation to Koki by 7 am the next day so that she could review it before we presented it at 9 am. Once we were back in the hostel, Rags and I returned to our favorite pastimes - him watching TV and me chatting on IP. Koki employed a few spies from BH to report to her on the progress of our work but thankfully we identified the etappans and passed on doctored info across the great divide. Finally at around 1 in the morning, when Rags and I finally got down to work with piping hot chai and maggi to give us company, we knew we had to race against time. The first decision we took was to avoid the usual, boring form of presentations. Knowing that we had to strike a fine balance between being different and still fulfilling the requirements of the assignment, we were pondering over the possibility of presenting it as a story when Rags came up with this brainwave of using poetry to spin a story around our evening's observations (...and if ever there was an Archimedes Eureka moment in my life, it was this) The easier part of ideation done, we knew the real challenge was in the implementation phase. We decided to have 7 slides of 2 paras each with every para having 4 lines. As I rattled off on what needed to be covered, Rags spun his magic web of words. There were moments when we were totally stuck forcing us to take a 10 mt break to the TV room and then one of us would have a wild thought and we would rush back to see if we could fit it into the flow. Of course, there were numerous arguments and I played critic to the hilt knowing that Rags loved challenges and would deliver if only he was pushed properly. Whenever Americanisms filtered in, I mercilessly edited it forcing Rags to alter his style.
I have always been of the opinion that when you aren't entirely convinced about a particular idea and still have to take it up, the end product invariably turns out to be very shoddy. At the same, when you believe in whatever you are doing and set your heart and soul to it, the results speak for themselves. After 3 hours of blood and toil when we saw the final product we were thrilled with the output. But there was still something that seemed to be missing. The verses were wonderful but we knew we did not want to speak those lines. It was then that I casually suggested that maybe we should just put it in Auto Mode and do no talking. This suggestion sparked off a new train of thought and we finally settled on playing some music in the background and letting people follow the story through the slides. Of course, we chose Kenny G (don't remember which song now) for there is nothing more soothing that a sax playing in the background.
When we showed our presentation to Koki the next day, she broke into a huge smiling acknowledging that we had a sure winner on our hands but the dark circles around her eyes clearly told its own story - she hadn't slept much the previous night ;-) I would not be far off from the truth if I said that the class was stunned by our presentation and the Prof went delirious with joy. Rags was given a long round of applause (which was totally due) and specifically commended for his classy British sense of writing (for which I knew I deserved equal credit if not more). There is nothing more toxic than the praise that one gets from peers and I would have definitely understood if Rags had forgetten to acknowledge my contribution (however small) except that he did not. (In his own crazy way, he silently hugged me in private later than day :-p) As I keep saying, the Calcutta Test made a super star of Laxman but I am sure he would have been the first to appreciate the value of Dravid's knock. Sometimes we need to be a little less skeptic about team work coz, trust me, it works.
This song's been buzzing in my ears since morning and I know everyone runs when I sing but then, you don't have a choice....so here I go..
Some find it sharing every morning
Some in their solitary lives
You’ll find it in the world of others
A simple line can make you laugh or cry
You’ll find it in the deepest friendship
The kind u cherish all ur life
And when u know how much that means
You’ve found that special thing
Missing her like crazyyyyyyyyyyyyy :-((((((((((