Thursday, November 29, 2007

Minding my (bad) language...

Time and again I have people commenting at my blog (albeit ‘anonymously’), about my atrocious English, horrendous spellings and mortifying punctuating skills. Well I have never claimed that I was good in English have I? In fact this blog is a celebration of ‘English Language Underdogginess’!!! It is an affirmation that we, the poorly skilled in English, can also have our badly spelled and punctuated word heard.

Did I tell you that I barely passed English in school and college? I guess not. Well I did pass, but it had nothing to do with my knowledge of the language. I am sure I passed due to God smiling kindly at me (specially during English exams), pleased with my gentle, caring, loving, adorable, endearing, truthful, thoughtful, humble etc etc etc nature. ( My mother begs to disagree about this though.) Don't believe me? See for yourself!

11th Standard: The evaluator was an extremely kind lady. She actually cried when she read my essay in which I wrote about my unemployed Dad and my maid servant mom, who washes dishes in 31 houses to put me through college and English tuitions.

12th Standard: The evaluator was sick. She felt worse when she saw my paper. She gave me passing marks so that she didn't have to go through the horror of reading the entire paper.

First year BA: The evaluator was crossing the road and was hit by a scooterist. She was hospitalized and they had to rush in the Hindi evaluator to do the corrections. I got 99% this year. In the remarks column she wrote: Vary gud. Ek dum pass!!

Second year BA: The evaluator slept off and I copied from my Punju buddy Natasha. Natasha failed. I passed. She had submitted my paper by mistake. She never sat next to me again.

Third year BA: The evaluator had an enormous inferiority complex. When he saw my paper he felt so good that he passed me. He was also cured of his inferiority complex forever.

And thus peoples, pliss to forgive me poor English and give encouraging words like “You are the greatest blogger Silverine” etc so that I keep writing and do not get discouraged and develop really low self esteem and other conditions I cannot spell.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Emotionally Yours!

Flash News!!

New Delhi: European aircraft maker Airbus Industrie is in talks with flag carrier Air India for sale of up to 12 super jumbo A-380 planes according to this Yahoo news. At a joint press conference in the capital, (where this reporter was debarred from attending, but she attended anyways by threatening to write a blog about Air India's service), attended by the COO of Airbus and The President of Air India, the Airbus CEO said that "we are hoping to close the deal as soon as we can before the world runs out of aviation fuel err I mean we are hoping to close this deal so that we can deliver the aircrafts as soon as we can."

The long range aircraft can enable an airline to fly to Delhi-Los Angles or Delhi-New York non-stop. The Airbus COO said he was considering Air India’s customization request and hoped to see the customized A-380 in Indian skies in the near future.

Speaking on the occasion the AI President said, that Air India will only accept aircrafts that are customized to its special requirements. When quizzed by the Press about the customization required by Air India, the AI President elaborated that to begin with, all its Airbus A-380’s will carry a multi specialty Geriatric hospital for its old stewards and stewardesses with complex medical, functional and psychosocial problems. This is to ensure that accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment is given so that the AI cabin Crew, who will all be in their 80’s when the aircrafts are delivered, do not have to endure long lengths of stay in acute care.

The AI President said that the airline's goal is to prevent disability and restore its geriatric cabin crew to their highest possible level of independent functioning. This statement was greeted with thunderous applause by the AI Union members who left the bar to give the President a standing applause. After which they promptly went back to the bar and filling their bags with liquor, ice containers, bottle openers, peanuts, napkins etc. The bar tender said that this was the usual practice with AI staff and they were prepared for this eventuality. He didn’t elaborate how.

Secondly, the AI President said that the aisles of the customized aircraft will be at least 36 inches between objects so that its geriatric Air Hostesses and Stewards can easily navigate their wheelchairs or walkers.

Thirdly Aircraft lights will have plenty of options so that older eyes are not strained. The toilets will also be customised with rubber suction-grip mats to prevent slipping and grab bars on toilet wall to help with getting in or out of the toilet easier and safer for the geriatric crew.

Further, the aircraft galley will have a seated work area for food preparation tasks with close access to galley equipment so that AI's geriatric cabin crews have a comfortable work location.

Cabin Crew seats will provide good back support and special geriatric cushioning for comfort and the cushions will be securely fitted to the chair.

The customized Air India A-380 will provide adequate, easily accessible storage that doesn't require reaching, bending or straining by its senior cabin crew.

Firm yet comfortable beds with easy onto and off access with appropriate support and comfort will ensure that the senior staff will have a comfortable sleep during flights.

Passengers will be provided all their meal requirements in a sack while boarding so that they do not disturb the cabin crew too much.

And finally, the AI President said that all passengers desirous of traveling in the Air India A 380, will have to go through a six weeks intensive training at the Air India Institute of Graduate Certification in Geriatric Care Management.

Breaking news!!!

News has just come in that in one of the worst cases of poisoning caused by the consumption of illicit liquor, 400 Air India staffers were hospitalized in Delhi. Many who were in hospital have now been discharged, but they would probably suffer from side effects including an aversion to free liquor and possibly even a life time loss of taste for free peanuts. Watch this space for more news.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Corporate Correctness

Most of us have a ready-made e-mail signature in our mail application that saves us the time of signing each and every outgoing e-mail. Especially these days when we send umpteen mails in a day. Almost everyone has a favorite quote too, as a part of their e-mail signatures. As the Marketing and Communications person of my team, I am invariably cc’ed in many mails and I get to see some brilliant exchanges due to these ready made signatures. Here is an exchange that took place today. The email sign off is in blue font. The quotes in maroon font.

Dear Mohan,

Where is the Solutions Brochure??? I am fed up of reminding you and your lame excuses. I would like to cancel this order!!!!

Warm regards,


“One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.’

Dear Sanjay,

I have told you countless number of times that if you ask for a change at the last minute, it would delay the whole printing process. Why don’t you read your mails for gods sakes???

Have a nice day, take care...,


"For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness."

Brijesh and Sanjay,

I am appalled that the Brochures are yet to be delivered. My client will kill me. I am escalating this to the big boss!!!!! Silverine FYI

I remain yours truly…


“Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.”

Dear Karthik,

I suggest getting into the details of a case and not jumping the gun before ascertaining the facts and escalating matters.

Silverine FYI!!!!

My sincere thanks for your time and consideration,


“Life is like a mirror, we get the best results when we smile at it.”

While these heated exchanges are going on I can be seen doubled over my desk, laughing my guts off. My boss thinks I have the right work attitude and predicts that I will go far with this kind of a mindset. Of course I will, as I am in no hurry to point out to the stars of this ‘exchange’ how entertaining err I mean “corporately correct” is their emails.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How to co habit with your Finance Department and survive

Time and again I have people writing in, especially freshers, asking me for tips to avoid the common pitfalls freshers normally face in the corporate world. Some people have even suggested that I should give due mention to other departments too and not concentrate on HR, Facilities and Sysadmins only. I understand dear friends and apologize for the cruel oversight. And to show you that I mean well, today I shall take you on a tour of one of the most important departments in your organization, a department that is very dear to my heart and where I spend a lot of my time….The Finance Department!

If you are 'financials' me, and quicken your pace when you pass the Finance department.... like me, and duck at the sight of the FM... like me and dream of pushing your accountant down the me, then this tutorial is just the thing for you.

Given below are some terminologies with their meanings that will make your corporate life much easier and increase your chances of not picking up that gun and opening fire after blocking all exits of the finance department.

Proforma invoice: This is a bill that comes before the actual bill. It is not the actual bill but will be considered as a bill if the bill comes later.

The invoice: The invoice is the actual Bill, which the Proforma Invoice represented. But since it cannot be invoiced before the Proforma invoice it will be invoiced after the Proforma invoice. (see how easy it is no?)

Invoice (another definition): Same as above except for the small difference that it will be misplaced by the finance dept, so that you have to ask the Invoicer to make another Invoice to replace the “Invoice (another definition)”

Debit note: aaarrrghh... err I mean I am yet to delve into this properly. Will do so soon after I have finished by final "Clinical Depression" therapy at NIMHANS.

Debit note (another def): Same as "Invoice (another definition)" Replace 'Invoice" with 'Debit note'.

Cheque: According to a web definition, this is a negotiable instrument instructing your bank to pay your vendor. I am yet to see one. I would love to see one. Perhaps I will see one before I die. I am the eternal optimist.

Funds: An imaginary figure like fairies and elves that do not exist. "We do not have funds” is the motto of the finance department.

Advance: A non-existent word in the dictionary of FM's and Accountants. For academic interest it is half the amount of the Invoice that has to be paid in advance to your vendor (as per agreement that was approved by the FM himself) so that he can start work. People who believe in fairies and elves tend to believe in the existence of "advance" too. They are mostly found in mental institutions, sitting in the Psychiatrist's waiting room...with me.

Take home salary: A 1% amount of the figure promised to you when you got your job.

Income Tax: Very easy to calculate. Just reduce 30% from the 1% amount of the figure promised to you when you got your job.

Bill: A very sacred document that you must guard with your life unless you plan to pay for the amount mentioned in it yourself.

The bill (another definition): Guess you get the drift by now...

PAN No. : A number that you must ensure your Invoicer mentions when he invoices you or you may have to endure "Invoice (another definition)"

Account No.: Ditto as above.

PAN no (another definition): This is 'your' PAN number that you have give once when you join the office but hence forth have to give periodically, like once in two days, as the finance dept has an extremely short memory. In fact they have a very short memory for everything except 'collections'.

Collections: Money you have to claim back from various parties with whom you have undertaken joint marketing initiatives. My FM has very generously given me the option of deducting the same from my salary so that he doesn’t have to harass me and I am free to chase the "collectees" and collect the "collections". Such a nice man!

TDS (Tax Deducted at Source): An amount that will be deducted from the Invoice that will have your Invoicer a nice shade of blue in the face.

Reminders: Something that you do a lot like once every hour, so that "Invoice (another definition)" doesn’t happen.

Accountant: The guy who is mostly responsible for "Invoice (another definition)".

Copying machine: Something you learn to operate with the efficiency of an expert as you spend considerable amount of your time with it, copying Proforma, Invoices, Bills to avoid "Invoice (another definition)”.

Discount: A word that you use for every Invoice you submit for payment. Always remember that the Invoice amount is "after discounts". This makes FM's strangely very happy. Use liberally. If he is in a good mood he may even release your payment in a record-breaking speed of 6789 days. 6788 days if he is in a really really good mood.

FM: A very poor man.

Vendor: A very sad man.

The finance dept: The place to avoid if you have a fully loaded gun in your hands.

The FM's office: A place where you spend a half of your productive hours unproductively.

That’s it folks!! Hope the lesson was useful. Please note by vendors I mean, your event managers, ad agency, gift vendors etc.

Next edition, The HR Department oops I mean “Product Managers”

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Much ado about somethings

PG Rating: Very very very very long post.

Update Java and get Open Office Free” says a bubble above the Java Update button in my Windows task bar. “Free Open Office ????" Am I missing something here, like has Freeware become “Paidware”? In which case Microsoft must be doubled over with laughter tears streaming down their face going “hahahahahahahaha Copycats!!! Gotcha again!!!!!!”

Tsk tsk

I press the download button. I half expected Windows XP to pop up a bubble that says “Nahiiiiiin!!! But nothing of that sort happened. Well something did happen, like it playfully tried to kill Java by hanging the system a couple of times. But after a couple of rebooting it sort of got the message that I was going to download the Java Update anyway. Java happily downloaded itself while it educated me that “Java is found everywhere” and that I was so lucky to get it (!!!) (Note to self: Find out what is Java and why is it downloading onto my PC?)

Now readers might detect a faint animosity towards Open Office in my posts. Well it is true that I hate Open Office. (Allow me a moment to pat myself on the back for hiding my animosity so well).

Now I am no Microsoft fan. I don’t care if MS Windows and MS Office were made by Pyarelal Ghanshyamdas Popatlal and Sons. Really!!! The name or the brand does not matter. I am too used to MS Office and I found Open Office and Thunderbird a pain to deal with for the six months I used it.

For people who are foaming in the mouth at the very mention of the word “Microsoft” let me in consideration of your feelings and sentiments use a totally harmless pseudonym “Bill Gates Office and Bill Gates Outlook” to avoid you all from dying of dehydration. I am sure ‘Bill Gates’ is a safe enough pseudonym to use for MS, for the benefit of all Open Office/ Thunderbird lovers who read my posts written on MS Word and sent home using MS Outlook so that I can post it from my home PC which has Windows XP. The precaution is to keep my Sysadmin from finding out that it was me who wrote about him in this post which someone kindly forwarded to him. Of course I am not scared of him or anything remotely like that. But the specter of the Syssie replacing my sleek HP laptop with an old rickety Toshiba Tecra M3 Laptop is the stuff my nightmares are made up of. *shudder*

Let me explain why I like some of the applications from Mr Bill Gates.

For starters, I have every chore that needs to be done, saved on the BG Outlook calendar. So every 5 minutes I get a pop up window telling me that I was supposed to wish my friend a very Happy Birthday fourteen days ago. This is when I reach for the bottom drawer of my table and nonchalantly pull out the bundle of “Belated Happy Birthday” cards, sign one with a flourish and send it to the mail room for dispatch. See how useful it is?????

And then the S + facility or the facility to send a “Meeting Request” and block people’s calendar is something I swear by. It is something my Boss also swears by and right now he is swearing very fluently. I am now sitting in the Ladies Toilet with my lappie. Of course it is not because I am blogging from office silly!! I am furiously canceling all the meeting requests I had sent to my Boss blocking his calendar which made him miss his grandchild’s naming ceremony, his sons wedding, his wife’s mother’s funeral and a summons from the court for a traffic violation. Such is the power the “Meeting Request” option in Bill Gates Outlook. See how convenient it is???

(..and if you are wondering why I am sitting in the toilet, it is because my Boss is a thorough gentleman you see. He will never enter the ladies toilet no matter what I have done. And you guessed right...I do spend a considerable amount of time in here )

Ever tried the ‘Bill Gates Live Meeting’? I do it all the time…and I get the same result... “Please download Live Meeting” Now after downloading Live Meeting, you sign in and enter the meeting area which is actually a small window that pops up on your monitor. You can see a screen and a small box with seating arrangements. Your name will automatically get added to one of the seats and you can see the meeting moderator’s cursor moving back and forth on the screen.

You can see people typing questions chumma just like that. The moderator ignores the questions because psssst methinks the questions are technically inferior and insults his intelligence. It is when the moderator calls me on my office land line and shrieks “Anju why aren’t you answering my questions???” that he realizes that no one has audio. After an unsuccessful attempt by all of us to configure the audio you will see the moderator desperately typing on the screen “This meeting is adjourned so that we can set up a conference call via Tata Indicom so that everyone can hear me during the Live Meeting*sigh* err I mean see how hi tech meeting have become because of BG!!!!

And psssssst before I sign off let me tell you about the immense possibilities of another feature in BG Outlook 2007. Something I use with great effect. Did you know you can send a “Confidential Mail” that needs signature verification for the recipient to open and read the same? Heh heh think of the possibilities!!! Send you arch enemy a series of mails that he is not authorized to open with an intriguing ‘Subject’ and see him tearing his hair out in frustration when he cannot open the mail. He will of course be BCC’ed and the mail will of course be blank. Muahahahahah Of course it doesn’t matter that you will be tearing your hair out in frustration in the next cubicle when your system reboots for the 724th time while you try to open their “Confidential” reply. But see how secure the system is ????

And lastly let me end this rather long post by promising solemnly, that if I win that 'Open Office', I will award it to the 'anti BG' person who foamed the least in the mouth while reading this post. God promise!