Sunday, February 24, 2013

Con-ference 101

Con-ference 101: sarthakahuja.blogspot.comConferences, especially those that are aimed at keeping you abreast with the latest happenings in your industry, serve a much higher purpose than just updating your knowledge about recent changes in law. I attended one such conference yesterday, and it wasn’t surprising to see that it was exactly like a bazillion other seminars that I attend every month. Here’s presenting a list of all the essential elements of a typical professional seminar (with bonus “Rules to Follow” that will help you survive any such meet in the future).

Better Late than Early to Gate

You should never really rush to reach the venue of the conference at the time specified on the invitation card. Reaching at 9.30 in the morning will not just make you curse yourself for watching videos online till 3 a.m., but will make you truly hate yourself because even though the speaker was doing just the same on the previous night, he gets applauded for walking in an hour late for the program.

Also, absolutely no sensible or productive talk will ever happen before the morning tea break. The dais will be occupied by people who will be extremely happy about having a name placard and a Bisleri bottle placed in front of them. The only new piece of knowledge that you can gain during this time is finding the reason to why these experts burst crackers on Diwali. I mean, if it takes them an hour to light one diya, can you even imagine how much of their precious time will actually be lost in case they decide to light a few oil lamps on a semi-winter night! Plus, I doubt if their wives will thank them for their “precious time” and offer a token of appreciation to acknowledge the same.

Mr. What Am I Here For?

I hope you didn’t confuse the name with a person in the audience. The Mr. What-Am-I-Here-For normally sits right next to the podium, giving company to a speaker who is not important enough to be given a position at the center of the table. This person’s sole duty is to give the welcome address which he will unfailingly, always start with the word “friends” and then follow it with a couplet that is only worthy to be put behind an auto rickshaw in Delhi.

Exhibit 1: “Friends, Har kisi ko mukammal jahan nahi milta. Kisi ko zameen, kisi ko aasman nahi milta! A very good morning to our Chief Guest for the day… (blah blah)… ladies and gentlemans.”

Koi is gaddhe ko yeh samjhaaye ke school ki debate nahi hai jo style maarne ke liye good morning se pehle sher maar raha hai.

And, why in frig’s name are people so obsessed with this one particular sher? It’s sad how so many of these guys actually need to go to the Book Fair in February and grab themselves a copy of popular quotes and couplets instead of memorizing the two lines that even my barber can recite peppered with BC/MC at a Pahar Ganj Literary Festival.

Mr. Photographer’s Favorite

The photographer’s job pretty much ends after he clicks pictures of the ceremonial lamp being lit. We all know why he sticks around till lunch time. But again, he’s not as shameless as Mr. What-Am-I-Here-For. Our photographer will go on doing his duty of clicking photographs from different angles of the people sitting on the dais. And why shouldn’t he? He always finds the one person who will be more than happy to smile at the camera even when an audience of five hundred is looking straight at him.

This person on the dais is again someone who is not worthy of being given a chair to sit on the carpeted stage. He so easily assumes that everyone in the audience is looking at the speaker, and his attempt at getting a new picture for his facebook profile will go unnoticed.

Sadly, he’s also known as Mr. What-Am-I-Here-For. Double shame on you, sir!

Mr. What Should I Do To Look Important

This person is normally the youngest on the dais. It’s not been long since he passed out of school after having flunked grade seven and eleven twice, each. Here’s what his inner monologue sounds like.

Yes! Aaj toh dais pe baithne ko mil gaya. Facebook status daalunga tea break mein.”

“Bhai, kitni der se bol raha hai! Is bande ne time pe khatam nahi kara toh hum baaki speakers kab bolenge.”

“Paani! Haan, paani pee leta hun glass mein daal ke bina awaaz kare.”

“Yeh saamne toffeeyan padhi hai bottle ke saath. Uttha ke khaaun toh ajeeb toh nahi lagega?... Um, hamaare liye hi toh rakhi hain. Kha leta hun. Do minute toh katt hi jaayenge.”

“Shit! Saamne audience ghoor rahi hai. Kya karun ke ajeeb nahi lage? Ah, neeche dekh ke notepad mein kuchh likhne ki acting karta hun. Ya, sardar ki drawing banata hun. Bas yeh mere saath wala na dekh le.”

“Wah! Is bande ne ek sher maara. Aise lag raha hai ab iski speech khatam ho gayi hai. *raises hands to clap; realizes that there’s more to the speech* Shit! Shit! Shit!”

“Haha! Yeh speaker kitna gavaar hai. Dengoo ko dengee pronounce karta hai! *looks down to hide the smirk on his face* Bhai, isko speaker kisne banaya!”

And, as soon as the speaker finishes, this guy gets up, takes the mic on the podium, and thanks the speaker. I’m sure that by now you can recognize him as our very own Mr. What-Am-I-Here-For. Kya baat hai, sir!

Mr.  Lunch Joke

Out of all the speakers scheduled to enlighten the not so bright professionals sitting in the audience, the organizers make sure to put the junior-most immediately before the scheduled lunch. No one really cares to listen to this guy as the Chief Guest’s late arrival has messed up the program for the day. People sit impatiently, waiting for the great orator to finish his speech before 2 p.m. so that they don’t miss out on the 5 star lunch, which is the only thing that made them pay for this stupid conference in the first place.

This is actually the most crucial time for the members of the august audience. If the speaker finishes late, they’ll have to run at full speed to the lunch area after his speech. Facing the dilemma of letting others judge them for rushing to snatch a plate, or having to stand in line for fifteen minutes before they reach the dal makhni is a million dollar question. But, wait for the catch!

As soon as the speaker finishes, Mr. What-Am-I-Here-For will jump from his seat and say: I’m sorry to stand between you and your lunch *pause* but thanking the speaker is also important *audience laughs* So please remain seated for another two minutes.

After the five hundred odd mortals rush to grab a bite, he will keep beaming with a smile, feeling proud of the fact that his wit won him a few laughs today and the lunch joke was so funny!

Let me slow clap for you, Mr. Lunch-Joke. It’s surprising how, by now, you have more titles for yourself than KRK has on his twitter bio.

Mr. Highway On My Plate

Sadly, Mr. I-Wish-I-Could-Bash-You-Even-More doesn’t have to worry about fighting for food as his position on the dais earns him a private spot for lunch with the other “dignitaries”.

Now, you’ll just be left worrying about how you will fit the noodles on your plate without letting them mix with the Shahi Paneer gravy, which is already occupying half the space on your platter. Ah, well, there aren’t any free lunches in the world after all.

Images Source:


  1. @@@@@@@@ Ab toh khol hi lo Halwai shop!

  2. I just attended a workshop last week- experiences were largely the same. :|

  3. Heylo!

    A few weeks back I read a column where Vir Sanghvi discussed about the controversy around the origin of jalebi, and how people in the middle east claim it to be their invention.
    Giving equal consideration to this claim, along with various researches in India about its origin, he came to a suggestion, that no matter where something originates, Indians have been known to add their own flavor to it; no one can beat the Indian jalebi!

    I see you have added new flavors to this sinful-sweet-mesh, making it your own! ;)
    Absolutely loved the theme of your blog( makes me want to update my dull-old blog background!) and your refreshing writing style..

    1. Aha! Saloni! My most favorite comment on this blog :D
      Your comment is such a post on its own. Now you'll steal away all the readership to your own awesome blog, eh? ;)

      Bhayi, apne blog fan ko khush kar diya aaj toh :D


If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D