Sunday, August 06, 2006

Act V: All's well that begins... well??

Google is known for its "define:" keyword, whereby a user can get the definition of oft-used and relevant terms. It didn't turn out so lucky for me, for this is what I got on querying a definition for "event management": services that provide basic capabilities for the management of events, including asynchronous events, event "fan-in", "fan-out" and reliable event delivery! I've given up, for this narration can then be about what event management shouldn't be...
Let's name this guy EM. Now repeat it aloud, after me: EM for... Event Mis-Manager! That's better! He presented himself at 2pm, when we were at our wit's end, feeling and looking like fish taken out of water, and put on a footpath in hot Chennai!! We gave him a piece of our mind as soon as we shook hands with him.
Mankind has committed many a folly, all through what he's been calling technical advancement, a fatal mistake being the coinage of the word "sorry". This mean, unfeeling word is solution to all blunders done and all crimes committed. It's the easiest way to wash off one's sins, though it doesn't put the victim in any better a situation. By habit, he spat out the word: "sorry"...
EM never had the aggression that an event manager usually has, neither did he show any professionalism. That's when I realised it's more a game of money and contacts, than involvement in work or skill in execution. He made a mess of the schedule, told us to alter our playlist, was confused about which event to begin with, where our event should be placed, unable to answer half our doubts, and kept changing the topic when we asked about our wages (The usage is quite intentional, as that's the way everyone looked at it! Wages for the Gaanamela Troupe!). Descriptions help little in portraying the attitude of such a person, and all that needs be said about EM is he wasn't worth his salt.
The sylvan surroundings of Kkm were real good, and the hotel was very well maintained. A walk to the farther side of the hotel led us to a splendid view of the backwaters. The place is surely worth a stay, but it's quite another tale to be here as performers. You are grilled, ill-treated and trampled upon. It's insult upon injury, when you are expected to rise up, like the WWE superstars do on TV, and perform!
KK and I tailed EM like dogs, and we did much more than just performing a few English numbers on stage. We put on the coat of acting Event Managers. The programme for the day included a katcheri by a Carnatic troupe. The schedule placed Heavy Metal before Himagiri Thanaye! I was dumb-struck! We snatched the paper from the compere, and altered the schedule to make it look good. Chrimson chords was to blast out, playing heavy metal songs for two hours, but the schedule gave us half-an-hour! The next thing that struck me was:
Our new wage = (Our old wage / 4)!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's a simple argument that would come up at the end! You played less, so you deserve less!
We got our performance duration extended. EM never reacted, and he nodded to whatever we said, concluding every recovery operation of ours with a monotonous, annoying philosophical dialogue. East met West when the carnatic troupe wanted to play fusion, and approached us to do an impromptu on stage! I shivered at the very thought! Details follow in the next Act, the penultimate one...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Act IV: Bearded Schumi and the outcastes' refuge!

I'm not starting with a reminder note this time, for it's obvious that an Act IV will be preceded by three other Acts!

PR's Pearl had to be side-lined. The college drum-kit took its place instead! That brought back the smile on my face, for the most crucial factor worrying a drummer should be the tone of his kit! A Swaraj Mazda took us to Kkm, a bearded man at the wheels. Quite a character he was. Just the kind of person you would associate the careful-with-this-guy tag. The introvert that he was, one never knew if he responded to your query, be it a request to turn the music player on, or an offer to share our snacks. A cold stare was all we got as reply!
The music system on-board sounded more like a buzzing bee! Another new proverb for music lovers: All treble and no bass makes any listener turn violent!!! Smoke On the Water droned(!) through the speakers, and it sounded like Ian Gillan was singing, holding his nose closed tight!
And then, our chauffeur brought the vehicle to a grinding halt. Key words would suffice to describe what went on:
1) A call on his... mobile?!!! A cell-phone, by definition, is an organ external to the human body, but one that is essential for the survival of the human species. Or atleast, that's the level of prominence people have bestowed upon the gadget!!
2) A Lajjaavathiye ring-tone: For clarity's sake, that's a song(?) which hurled South India off its feet. A mega-hit to the extent of cars hooting this tune while going in reverse!
3) The driver acted like he was Bill Gates, but for a second, though! He received the call, blurted out his name, and when he heard the word "Muscat", he said: "Muscat?! No, this is Cct! Wrong number!!" Situational comedy it was, and we laughed our heart out! Muscat!!

At 4 am in the morning, bearded Schumi was busy enquiring the route to Kkm. An hour later, we reached our hotel, at Kkm, where Schumi found solace on the nearest bench. He resembled the protagonist in any Adoor Gopalakrishnan film, face pointed upwards, eyes fixed at infinity, reaching eternal bliss at having discovered the route to Kkm!
We weren't assigned rooms! We were stranded at the reception, and there we waited, from 5 am to 10 am!!! No one attended to us, save the receptionist, trying in vain to use the word "sorry" and calm us down! The apology was more a result of training, than one of sympathy, blunt in delivery and blank in attitude!
The hotel manager denied having known us! We were referred to as the "gaanamela" people! That was annoying! It was akin to racial discrimination against coloured people. Late at the breakfast table, we were told: "The food's over. But we have idlis left-over! Care to have some?!" My heart was in my mouth. Hailing from one of the best technical institutes in the country, we were being served food claimed to be "left-over"... OUR food was always different from THEIRS. THEY, the residents of the hotel, had a buffet, where they could choose from an ocean of items! We had our food arranged with the staff!
I always find it easier to mingle with a crowd of ordinary people, and in fact, prefer to eat with them, but the wording and manner of the invitation doth tell a lot on how keen the host is, to play host. The invitation for lunch looked like they were rendering social service to us refugees! The whole band decided to boycott the lunch. We ate at a hotel nearby. My bill alone, was pegged at Rs.100, but I felt great paying from my pocket. It helped in shedding the refugee cloak!!
More of refugee treatment was in store, when instead of a room, we were given a house-boat! That was magnanimity on part of the manager, and negligience on the event (mis)manager's side. (We had never heard of the latter!) We freshened up, ready for the day's show. Just after lunch, we met the mystery-man, the event (mis)manager...