Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Negative marketing

Indian film makers have given up coming with Hollywood fabrication to make a movie hit. Thanks to torrent, English are available in plenty. We no longer need a desi version.

The current mantra is come up with a controversy. The sleazier the negative publicity, the better. Gone are the days of gossips linking up the co-stars. It can be vulgar titles, which later turns out have no connection with the movie. It can be about rumors the heroine demanded shorter dress than her rival.

Judging from the nature, I guess producers target bored husbands, trusting they will drag their wives along for the cinema.

Today morning I read in the national daily that heroine of a movie called 'My Husband's wife' chased the co-star around the room naked. What a bright start for the day.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The harmless

I came to notice one particular genre of human race- they may go unnoticed but are sure to be found in our world irrespective of our race or creed.

In my college days, I had a handful of them as classmates. They are perfectly harmless sort who thrive in doing petty thievery. These guys can be trusted to make small changes suddenly out of nowhere. In return you see your mobile phones and calculators disappear suddenly. I once lost mine on the eve of examination. Upon a friend’s advice I approached one of these sly guys who offer to sell me a calculator at half the price. I buy it and soon realize that it was stolen from another classmate.

Well the thievery does not get limited to materials alone. They even try to short change ‘girlfriends’ to get a free meal or fuel. Very recently I saw one of the guys get married of and settled into a decent life.

I met such a guy in office very recently- Anthonykutty. He does petty things at office. He is not salaried and charges on contract. His main assignment is to keep clean the record room. The record room is a very important place for a bank where they keep all the documents. The record room will be peaceful at peaceful times. But when there is a sudden inspection or lawsuit, the age old documents have to be fished out.

Anthonykutty’s idea of keeping record rooms neat is to sell off all the documents. For that he convinces the chief manager that they are old and wasted. So when he disposes off the documents, he charges the bank for his labour. Then he sells off the old paper to recyclers. The story doing rounds is that he was once weighing the waste papers and he even put the passers by on the scale to increase the weights.

Now when inspection comes in, there are no records to be found. The bank staff gets a good hiding for that. When the inspector checks the record room, it’s spic and span because everything useful is sold out. Anthonykutty gets a pat.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lesson-3 King Customer

Until a few years ago, in the so called nationalized banks, the officers were the king. Then people like Mr. Bhatt and the private banks screwed up the paradise.

Today somehow the people have been made to believe that customer is the king. The officers are highly inefficient and lazy and ought to be taught a lesson. The last day we received a suit filed against us by a guy who came in the last day. His problem was that the officer didn’t pay him the proper respect. We had to call him up and beg for forgiveness.

The last day an old lady called me up. She wanted to send her a scanned copy of a document. I asked her for the email address. She suddenly burst up. She was sending us mails every day and apparently it’s a shame that we don’t know her email ID. Inorder to end her babble I told her ‘Oh yes I very well know your email address’. It’s better to search it than extracting it from her. It was not enough for her. She wanted me to quote her address through the phone to reassure herself that the bank read all her letters.

The NRIs, who still maintain that they are mainstay of wobbling Indian economy, would go as far as persuading us to breach the RBI regulations. One woman called us up. She wanted her funds to be transferred from one fund to another. This would invite a penalty. But she threatened us she would ‘search for other options’ if we did so. Someone told the poor lady that her hard earned money was sustaining us!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The marriage sites saga

When it comes to marriage we Indians are still traditional- atleast in this southern tip of the country. Even among the ‘progressive’ families there is rarely a marriage borne out of love, dating. The process goes something like this- the boy/girl dates someone in high school and promises to live happily ever after. Then they realize at the college that it was a puppy love and decides to make a more matured decision. Throughout the college they come across some 8-10 suitable people to share the rest of their life with. They may end up living with the last one at the end. Or, as commonly seen, they ditch the last one after college and leave it all to parents.

The tough thing for the parents about arranging a bride/groom for the child is they may not be able to find the ‘right’ person soon enough. In the process the best age to marry off may pass away leaving the parents and the child in dire straits.

So the marriage sites come very handy to these poor souls. When I relocated to Ernakulam, I had to stay with my long time friend as a temporary solution. So he told me about this new trend. But the marriage sites don’t come cheap. It will burn a cool 5k bucks annually. And the religious denominations have started versions of their own to see the sheep in their fold doesn’t stray away.

But it’s not easy to simply put up a profile. Obviously people have exaggerated their qualities a bit to get ‘interests’. Blessed is the man who believes without seeing. So my friend fished out some beautiful girls. Sadly, his parents discovered that he has some minor defects in his horoscope. Now horoscope is the greatest villain in Indian marriages. Even the ‘madly-in-love’ dare not defy the horoscopes even if they defy their parents. My friend laments that he had to forego any chance to wed a beautiful wife and is waiting for the rare occurrence of a matching horoscope.

But he narrated the plight of another friend of his to forget the sorrows. This guy is short in stature, average looking and is not a high earner. He dreams of marrying a Miss India or someone with close resemblance. So every day he logs on to his profile and ‘expresses interest’ in every good looking girl. The next morning he finds out every one has turned up the ‘no interest’ flag. Out of grave frustration he hits the bottle that night and invites his friends to share his misery (everything on the house). The next morning he wakes up a new man and ‘expresses interest’ to a fresh set.

So one day he comes across an over aged girl with no job and hot looks. Now this was the chance to hit the bull’s eye. Apparently she must be frustrated like him, searching. He surely would fix this one. He ‘expressed interest’. He waits for a day or two with no reply coming. Surely this is going to work. Sadly on the fourth day she too expressed horror. He hit the bottle with a vengeance that night.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lesson-2 The Hurt Locker

Yesterday I happened to see my colleagues laughing over a piece of paper. I went over and they pushed an old piece of paper to me. It had some thing scribbled in an old version of Malayalam. The form of writing and language had been discarded ages ago. He must have been well educated but rustic. I strained my eyes to pick a word or two to pick up the humor. At last they told me what the letter was about.

Apparently an old couple started a locker in the bank years ago. Out of love they had agreed that any one can come up and operate it in the absence of other. Like any good old marriages of the present times, the relation hit bad weather. The old man moved the court and made the locker status ‘joint’. The couple had to come together to operate the locker. He didn’t want his wife to walk away with all the loot.

But the old man’s suspicions weren’t over. He firmly believed that his wife was somehow double crossing him to loot the locker. A few years ago he came to the bank and made a ruckus. The poor old man didn’t have the locker number even. He wrote this letter to the branch manager asking him for the assurance that his wealth was safe and sound.

Interestingly bank doesn’t maintain or monitor the possessions you keep in your locker. It’s a nice secret you can maintain for yourself. And the poor old man didn’t know his locker number too. After over an year the old man returned again yesterday. He made the same old ruckus. Thankfully the locker number was found out. He wanted a reply to his old letter. The manager replied him:

‘Sir please pay for the annual arrears of Rs.1000 towards the locker maintenance.’

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lesson 1

A banker is one person in the world who can regale you with tales from abundant chest of experience. I am talking about the old generation banks where the life is easy and there are no targets to be achieved. A banker assures people money is everything even while very well knowing its fallibility. In this world of pretension people would prefer to unmask in front of the person who takes care of your security.

A humorous clerk in our branch was talking about a film producer client. The earlier manager was in very much awe of the film producer. So as soon as the producer enters the bank, the manager would escort him to the cabin and finish off all his transactions personally. When the new lady manager came in, she was not amused by the producer stomping in royally. She informed him that he can go directly to the counter instead of approaching her.

He burst into unstoppable charade on how he ought to be respected and how the other banks offered ‘better’ services.

The poor chap was doing a blockbuster film at that time. It released in with much hype and flopped with even more hype. The humbled guy was seen with bowed head and had the employees at the bank having some fun at his expense.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I banker

The last week, the world saw Osama getting mercilessly bludgeoned by Obama. A significant development was I shifted my career to banking. The bank is no longer a place where I put or pull the money. It is a far less pleasant place where I’ll have to grind a living.

The best part of a bank is it’s the most vulnerable place of a man. Be it poor or rich, the money is equally valuable for both. It’s nothing like the rich has scant regard for his money. So you get to see the meek suddenly getting confused and violent. Even funny part is the people who preach simple living accumulating millions by unknown means. For him a banker is the guardian of his secrets. But then that makes a banker vulnerable.

These are my first few impressions on banking. More is yet to come. I have been quite busy for the past few weeks with sudden transfer and settling down. So I was quite busy for the past week and couldn’t check out many of my friends’ blogs. To make matters worse I am a bit homesick as well. I already miss all my friends, family, football and hangouts. This might be the only existing one I am still in touch with.