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This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

August 20, 2010

Of white Ass, Striped suits & Business etiquettes

You have heard of the proverbial white elephant but another of its ilk (very close in the animal kingdom) with similar characteristics greeted me and Sreehari (my colleague who took this picture precariously perched on his motorcycle with amused onlookers) during lunch hour in one of the by lanes of Malleshwaram recently. Resplendently white, this donkey made me ponder about the injustice that English language has done by ignoring it to the idiomatic pedestal that has been reserved for Elephas maximus. If the Greeks could associate this animal with Dionysus, the god of wine, the English could have done it better is my argument.

White elephant is described for “something that is large and unwieldy and is either a nuisance or expensive to keep up”. Its etymology is traced to the King of Siam's (Thailand where they are found) who had this reputed practice of awarding a white elephant to a courtier who had fallen out of favor. A white elephant was considered sacred and couldn't be put to work, so the upkeep of the animal would ruin its owner.

So if a white elephant was no more than an expensive burden but what would be its equivalent for a white Ass? I pondered. Here is a well known hard working beast that is commonly used for transport whether riding, pack transport, pulling carts or for farm tillage, threshing, raising water, milling, and other jobs- would be unfair to find a similar analogy as that of white elephant. So I try to find an equivalent in the world of cubiclenama (for starters this is a word used by Sidin Vadakut for a column in Mint, he describes it as a place “to look at the pleasures and perils of the workplace”). And and it turns out to be a typical CEO turned evangelist who could be best described as follows.

This once upon a time CEO puffs up at every given opportunity to put his outdated corporate karmic history on record. Even if his current role is far removed from it. This guy doesn’t realise his that his current situation is akin to that of an aging Bollywood Heroine who has fallen out of favour with the producers. He desperately tries to cling to the spotlight by ‘buying’ news space as the purveyor of his current pet theme (addressing Industry minnows as angel incarnate), on other lean days he cries for attention with his incessant twitter posted on LinkedIn. It is a different matter that his past corporate profile is a cruel anathema to the segment he now swears by ( a bit like Rambo acting now as Baba Ramdev). His photo is Darth Vader school of facial expression personified that almost says “ Hey,been there done that “ types. But people who have worked with him know that this countenance is one side of it , the other side is ghoulishly scary one when in foul mood- he is infant terrible tearing up everything that the subordinates came up with and stomping up & down on the shreds. On other similar days he would relentlessly clamor for the life of an employee who did not comply with his whims & fancies.

Such is this “Dr.Jekyll–now-Dr.Hardy-later” honcho, but ignoring all this I tried to introduce him to someone I thought was complimenting his Business proposition & was mutually beneficial as a Business contact. But for reasons I am yet to fathom, this jacko doesn't even bother to respond. As though I stood to gain from it! The person I was introducing runs a Software company in Bangalore that offers innovative IT products & offerings on a service model for small companies.

In another instance, a Sr level candidate and ex-colleague I had referred met him at some place in Mumbai. But this twiddle-dee striped suit was so engrossed with his Blackberry throughout the interview period that he rarely made eye contact with this candidate or showed basic courtesies in a face-to-face meeting. This irritated candidate later told me that he came out of a meeting with a Blackberry device!

So Mr.Fancy CEO turned god-knows-what , here is the epithet that goes to you for proving what it takes to be a white Ass .
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