Costly Award

February 22nd, 2010

A blue eyed boy of the Indian economy and the markets and the economy in general recently learnt a hard lesson.

It had begun to give out awards carrying its name. This year it had decided to present the award to one of the better known intellectuals.

The firm had decided to hold the awards function away from it’s home base. But, it had a whole bunch of people to be moved to the place where the function was scheduled to be held. It booked them on a flight on the economy class.

The intellectual, was a harder nut. He decided to book his own ticket, in a higher class. His age, he said, did not permit him to take the rough and tumble of the cattle class. He was not in the country then.

The award function was over, with all the glitz and glamour, and all pictures taken with smiling faces, and pleasentaries exchanged. It was splashed over all newspapers and magazines and TV news channels that mattered. The firm got it’s media coverage.

Now came the moot question. How much did it cost the firm to gain all that fame and publicity? The intellectual’s bill for the flight continues to stand out like a sore thumb many days after the award function.

After the function he had sent them a bill for $17,000. That was probably what the firm must have spent on flying the whole contingent out from it’s home base. The firm now doesn’t know what to do. The bill is moving from one superior to another in the firm.

Perhaps the next time the firm will ensure that the awardee is in the country itself or perhaps will give a condition for the award — “Travel only by economy class if you want the award.”

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Of Recorders, and Guns

February 4th, 2010

A journalist today cannot live without the electronic voice recorder, and other gadgets. While it helps catch everything someone says, it also helps the reporter ensure that he has proof of what he has written when anyone accuses him/her of misquoting the speaker.

Recording what someone says is today taken as de rigueur. Very often, the moment someone ‘important’ begins to speak in public many a reporter today pulls out the recorder from his/her bag/pocket. The action has to be very quick, lest the speaker may fall silent. Many a reporter has today specialised in the art of pulling out the voice recorder from their pockets and bags.

Some of our own ilk prefer to record surreptitiously too. Though, most consider it ethical to record after taking the permission of the person whose words are being recorded.

A fellow journalist recently met the head honcho of a US-based company. The moment he caught up with him and greeted him, he thought he had to catch every word the man spoke. So he pulled out his voice recorder so rapidly from his pocket and took it near his face so fast that the American was taken aback, and nearly fell on his back. He also broke into cold sweat.

The journalist said with a sheepish smile, “Sir, this is India. Not US. We don’t walk around with a revolver in our pocket.”

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